Even after calling the utility companies and waiting for them to come out and mark the ground, it’s still way too easy to hit unknown utility lines and it happens all the time. Call811.com explains that calling 811 (this is for the American folks) before you dig, reduces your chance of hitting a utility line to less than 1%. That may seem like a very small percentage, and it is, but with hundreds of billions of dollars in construction spending each year, that 1% is actually spread across thousands of projects. This also does not include poorly drawn as-built plans that result in major maintenance and renovation problems down the road due to mismarked and misplaced utilities.
Manufacturer, 3M, has recently released an Electronic Marker System (EMS) Rope 7000 that emits a radio frequency signal, so that it can be located, even when it gets damaged or cut to help locate the utility lines that it will be installed next to. According to 3M, the rope is virtually maintenance free, has a long life expectancy, and is corrosion resistance. Since the rope does not require a power source to operate, the location system will still work if part of the rope is cut or damaged. In order to find the rope, 3M’s EMS Marker/Tape Locator Model 7420 needs to be used.
“Using the new path marking system, we’re able to mitigate the challenges that often plague other marking applications, such as fear of cut lines, unlocatable utilities, bad digs and miss-hits. Over the life of a project, this may save considerable time, money and provides peace of mind,” said Ed Scott, business development manager of 3M Electrical Markets Division.
The rope can be installed in any open trench up to 2 feet deep and can be installed inside conduit.
The video below of the EMS Rope 7000 is a bit of a cheesy news parody, so I skipped ahead a couple minutes to the more informative part.
Remote sites have extreme challenges, like finding enough staff to work the jobs and being able to get materials to the site. Large mining operations have turned to self-driving dump trucks, like this 320 Ton mega machine, for a few years now. But, Lockheed Martin, a giant in the world of global security and aerospace, has a different solution for remote sites.
3D printing technology faces major issues when it is required to leave the shelter of a warehouse and step foot on a construction job site. 3D printers are extremely large, heavy, and rely on precise calibration for accuracy. Even the first 3D printed office building in Dubai, which was completed last year, had to actually have its components printed off site and assembled on site. But, Apis Cor, a 3D printing company, believes it has created the technology to print a full structure completely on site.
Road construction is rarely an ideal place for many things. It’s unsafe for workers, it causes traffic issues, and nearby businesses can suffer from it. One more thing can be added to the list, as self-driving cars are also having a hard time navigating construction zones, as well.
In the construction world, 3D printing technology has traditionally focused on buildings and other static structures, like this 3D printed bridge in Madrid, Spain. Not anymore, though, as the world’s first 3D printed excavator was officially unveiled to the attendees at last week’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 in Las Vegas.
Augmented reality on construction job sites has been a focus of several technology companies in recent years. As of now the clear leaders in the category have been the DAQRI smart helmet and glasses and the MIcrosoft Hololens. Early this year, DAQRI introduced their new smart glasses, which are the lighter and more mobile version of their fully protective smart hard hat. The new DAQRI product is a clear competitor for Microsoft’s Hololens, which is also a smart headset product. Backed by the powerful construction technology company Trimble and in a partnership with the University of Cambridge, the Hololens is getting tested with 2 new concepts specifically for the construction industry: Automated Progress Monitoring and Automated Bridge Damage Detection.
The concept of a bubble has surprisingly inspired many designers within the construction industry in recent years. There’s the inflatable bubble building in Shanghai that is supposed to help air and light quality, the inflatable tunnel that will protect pedestrians and business during road construction in Canada, and even a solar cell that was created to be lighter than a soap bubble. We can now add Binishells to our list.
Construction workers work long hours in some pretty rough exterior conditions a lot of the time and there’s no doubt that fatigue is a major factor in job site accidents. In recent years, we’ve seen a few technological advances that will either reduce worker fatigue or sense it, including robotic attachments, lighter and less vibratory power tools, and camera systems on CAT machines that sense when drivers are closing their eyes too much. Recently, a company out of Australia has been developing a smart hard hat that sensors when mental fatigue has set in.
3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.
As consistent and strong as wood, concrete, and steel have been for the past centuries, researchers and scientists are continually trying to improve them or create a better replacement product. Many have tried, but none have yet to succeed on a large scale. The latest scientific breakthrough takes a look at the geometry of a structure, rather than simply the material itself.