Advancing construction industry automation to enable safer and sustainable building

construction

ABB Robotics is driving automation in the construction industry with new robotic automation solutions to address key challenges, including the need for more affordable and environmentally friendly housing and to reduce the environmental impact of construction, amidst a labour and skills shortage.

Robotic automation offers huge potential to enhance productivity, efficiency and manufacturing flexibility throughout the construction industry, including automating the fabrication of modular homes and building components off-site, robotic welding and material handling on building sites and robot 3D printing of houses and customized structures. As well as making the industry safer and more cost effective, robots are improving sustainability and reducing environmental impact by enhancing quality and cutting waste.

Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area, said. “With so few construction businesses using automation today, there’s huge potential for us to transform the industry through robotics. Unlike building cars or assembling electronics, many techniques used in construction haven’t changed for generations, so we are developing new solutions to address key industry challenges. This new customer segment will broaden our portfolio as part of a wider strategy to accelerate expansion in high-growth segments including electronics, healthcare, consumer goods, logistics and food and beverage, to meet the growing demand for automation across multiple industries.”

In a global survey commissioned by ABB of 1900 large and small construction businesses in Europe, the US and China, 91 per cent said they face a skills crisis over the next 10 years, with 44 per cent saying they struggle to recruit for construction jobs. Improving health and safety on building sites was a priority for 42 per cent and the same percentage said the environment is a key driver for industry change.

81 per cent of construction businesses said they will introduce or increase the use of robotics and automation in the next decade, while today only a handful of businesses benefit from robotics. In the survey, only 55 per cent of construction companies say they use robots, compared with 84 per cent in Automotive and 79 per cent in Manufacturing.

Industry forecasts for the total value of the global construction industry predict it will rise by 85 percent to $15.5 trillion worldwide by 2030, while ABB Robotics’ internal analysis of the market potential for robotic automation over the next 10 years is for high double digit growth rate in key sectors of construction including pre-fabrication and 3D printing.

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