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The benefits of site layout robots for both large and small-scale construction projects

HP SitePrint Blog

The benefits of site layout robots for both large and small-scale construction projects
HP SitePrint Blog

Perhaps the most contentious and error-filled process in construction is the workflow that moves the as-designed details to the construction site layout. No matter how meticulous a worker may be, measurements are rarely accurate. Accuracy depends on multiple factors, such as the measuring device, the individual doing the measuring, and surface irregularities. Even a 1/16th inch variance adds up if it happens multiple times. Measurement errors in layout often go undetected until late in the construction process. As a result, costs increase, and schedules are extended. Such challenges have become an unpleasant but accepted part of construction. However, technical advances in automation and robotics, such as new products for layout robot construction, are changing what the industry expects from site layout.
Automating the site-printing process not only minimizes errors but also increases productivity. Robots enhance worker safety and improve efficiency. They offer the flexibility to address complex commercial buildings and residential housing. As technology advances, the capabilities of site-printing robots can expand to include artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning, adding to the benefits of automated site-printing robots such as the HP SitePrint robot .

Increased accuracy and precision

Construction site layout is a manual process, using old-school tools such as tape measures and chalk lines. A framer takes existing blueprints and marks the construction floor to reflect the plans. The problem is accuracy. How close does the layout plan match the blueprint? 
So many factors can impact accuracy. Scorching temperatures make it hard to concentrate. Couple extreme weather with the tedious task of making lines, and errors are likely to increase. Plan complexity only lengthens the process. 
Using layout robot construction technology reduces errors. Digital design plans are transmitted electronically to the robot, eliminating misinterpretation. Deciphering handwriting is no longer an issue. Robots print the same quality of data at the end of the day as they do at the beginning.

Productivity and cost efficiency

Manual processes for site layout are not only inaccurate but inefficient. Workers spend hours on a task that layout robot construction methods can do faster and with more accuracy. They can also continue to operate while framers attend meetings or locate materials. Job completion is no longer an either/or.
Robotic site printing can expedite the construction process for small projects with tight timelines. Employees are not drawing lines on concrete. Instead, they are following up on delivery schedules to ensure materials are in place when needed. They are confirming crew schedules to avoid lag time.
These operational changes can increase productivity ten times over a manual process. The added productivity translates into cost savings as a result of improved efficiencies, especially for smaller projects with less flexibility.

Enhanced safety

The latest statistics from the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) determined that the construction industry has a disproportionately high rate of accidents. The reported figures do not include disease-related illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous materials. Improving job safety is a critical concern for anyone in construction.
HP SitePrint robots are designed to withstand adverse operating conditions. They have built-in avoidance technology to improve performance, requiring less worker intervention. With a small footprint, HP SitePrint can maneuver across construction sites to hard-to-reach areas.
With advanced operating capabilities, layout robot construction solutions can reduce employee exposure to hazardous materials. They enable employees to remain at comfortable distances to avoid potential safety risks. By performing repetitive tasks, they can also prevent job-related injuries that come from stretching or bending to complete layout lines.

Innovation and improved communication

Communication is critical to any collaborative effort. Robots help project stakeholders stay informed of any changes. By integrating robots with cloud-based technologies, participants can experience seamless data sharing from any location. Plan changes can be reflected across multiple platforms simultaneously.
If projects require changes in layout plans, then they can be sent directly to a site printing robot. The adjustments can be made once and communicated to multiple endpoints for implementation. Innovations in connectivity enable faster and more efficient communications.
As construction workers become comfortable with site-printing robots, they will work with the technology to improve operations. Construction crews may identify potential conflicts as they view the robot-printed plans because they aren't focused on creating the plans. They may even provide feedback to improve the next generation of devices.

Flexibility and adaptability

Site-printing robots aren't just for complex construction projects such as office buildings or high-rise apartments. They provide the same benefits to projects of all sizes. Every project can benefit from improved safety that mitigates worker risk.
Creating site layout plans faster with more accuracy brings efficiencies to every job site. Large projects may realize efficiencies that come from improved communication of project changes, while smaller efforts benefit from a compressed delivery schedule.
Site-printing robots are integral to the digital transformation of the construction industry. Integrating digital designs with robotic site printing creates a seamless transfer of data from designer to builder. It enables improved project management and reduces friction that often arises as projects veer off track.

Future trends

The construction industry is embracing automation  as the labor pool continues to shrink. Integrating solutions for more digital workflows can ease the strain on a smaller labor pool. The solutions also offer efficiencies through data sharing and improved communications. 
Three trends in construction  will contribute to the growth of robots and automation in the industry. 

  1. Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM improves communication and project management as stakeholders are kept informed throughout the project. The digital design process makes it easier to share information with other computer systems.
  2. Cloud computing. As the demand for access to project data increases, companies will look to the cloud for collaborative capabilities. Sharing data at all phases of construction can help resolve concerns quickly with minimal delay in the project schedule.
  3. Data analytics. The construction industry will realize the value of the data it collects. Companies looking for a competitive edge will leverage their data to gain insights and improve decision-making.
The construction industry is learning the value of data. Companies understand how data analytics can provide insights for better decision-making. They can use the data to see how automation can improve their bottom line.

Preparing for the future today

As the future unfolds, layout robot construction technologies will continue to improve accuracy, enhance worker safety, and increase productivity. Whether for a large construction project or a residential addition, site printing robotics offers a valuable solution for modern construction projects. Reach out today to learn more about how HP is changing the construction industry.

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