Robotic technology has been trialled on a Western Australian construction site in a world-first project at Murdoch University, in conjunction with partners Aurecon and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
The robots have been uniquely designed by UTS researchers to deliver cumbersome screw fixings to relieve fatigue in workers through the repetitive and labour-intensive nature of this work, especially on mass engineered timber (MET) construction projects.
The long-term objective is to prove that the modular nature of timber construction will benefit from the automation of some on-site construction activities, helping to:
- increase productivity
- reduce cost
- improve workers’ OH&S
- advance innovation in construction
Construction sites are varied, complex and changing – and that can be a real challenge for a robot to navigate and conduct operations such as drilling a screw into the right position.
The design is an intelligent robot that can focus on an important task amidst the disruptive environment of a major building site.
There are around 200,000 to 300,000 screw fixings on the building used for the pilot. The robots were trialled installing approximately 50 to 100 fixings as part of the proof of concept.