Researching and adopting construction technologies is becoming increasingly important to companies that want to stay competitive. Industrialized construction combines a number of technologies that enable companies to benefit through scalability, enhanced productivity, higher quality, reduced labor costs, and fewer delays. Following are five of them.
- Additive Manufacturing – using 3D printing to build up structures using a layering process with liquefied materials.
- Big Data – using data gleaned from projects plus artificial intelligence and predictive analysis to stay in the loop on current projects and forecast future ones.
- IoT – utilizing data gathering objects incorporated in building components and systems to create a network that keeps track of what’s happening on the project.
- Prefabrication – using building assemblies and components that are constructed offsite.
- Robotics – using robotic equipment to design projects and perform work onsite.
Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, builds things by depositing (adding) the required material in layers, whether that is plastic, concrete, molten metal, polymer, molten glass, or another substance. With 3D printing, it’s feasible to proceed from a 3D model to a finished product with the physical output of one machine. Products can be unique, complex, custom parts and components that aren’t bound by the restraints of standard construction practices.
Big data increasingly comes from the building information modeling (BIM) process and its 3D models, the underlying databases of which can contain enormous amounts of synthesized data. The ability to process large amounts of information and gain insights from the resulting data pool is improving with enhanced sensors as part of the Internet of Things (IoT). This potential for predictive analyses has been described by Autodesk as “construction intelligence.” The result can be recognizing patterns and tendencies on a current job and using those to predict similar variables on future jobs.
If you want to explore ways the BIM process can be a wise use of your time and money, contact Applied Software today. The Revit and BIM experts at Applied Software will help you set goals and choose the best technology for your needs.
IoT enables the use of electronic sensors and actuators on physical objects, which can monitor information regarding performance. The information – i.e. temperature, humidity, proximity, gases, level, pressure, speed – gathered through this live tracking “telematics” process enables real-time input for making informed decisions. The usefulness of IoT extends to the occupied project, monitoring such things as energy usage and other trends. It can also inform features of future projects.
Prefabrication processes construct building components and modules at an offsite location then transport them to the jobsite to be incorporated into the project. Prefab includes modular construction and panelization. Modular construction results in a self-contained module, like a bathroom pod, that gets set into place onsite. Panelized construction involves the structural components of a job, such as precast concrete walls, that are created offsite, hauled to the jobsite and usually installed a panel at a time.
Robotics are perfectly suited to performing heavy, dangerous, dirty, or monotonous tasks like lifting or repetitive handling of materials. Engineers provide the creativity, knowledge and programming, and machines do the hard work, such as:
- 3D printing
- laser scanning
- drones and rovers
- robotic total stations
- bricklaying and welding
Robotic machines can also be outfitted with IoT sensors so they can gather details about site conditions or even self-performance. An operator/handler can monitor that information and make incremental adjustments to optimize efficiency.
As technology advances, it will take industrialized construction in directions most of us cannot yet envision. Collaborating on common goals and standards for industrialized construction technologies can ensure those advancements will be beneficial to all stakeholders. Widespread adoption of industrialized construction promises an exciting and productive future for the industry.