One of the very first articles I wrote over 3 years ago was about SAM, the Semi-Automated Mason, which is a bricklaying robot. Since that time, SAM, which is made by Construction Robotics, has seen several jobsites, according to their portfolio page. Their most recent project at the University of Nevada has put the technology back in the headlines.
If the company’s portfolio page is up-to-date and accurate, the Nevada project will be SAM’s biggest undertaking, by far, with around 60,000 bricks needing to be placed. Most of the robot’s past projects have been 15,000 bricks or less. In total, the project will have 100,000 bricks installed, but the robot can only handle around 60% of them.
Calling the robot Semi-Automated is pretty accurate, because it is currently only able to work on large and uninterrupted walls. According to Building Design + Construction, human masons are still required to perform a variety of tasks, including laying bricks in the first 5 feet of an area, corners, and around windows. Humans are also required to set up the scaffolding system that holds the robot, load the design into the on-board computer, align the row, tool the joints, and load bricks and mortar into the machine.
Despite all of that manual work, the general contractor on the job, Q&D Construction, states that SAM helped them speed up the installation of the brick veneer wall by 50% and that it can perform the work of 5 masons. The building, which will be a new University Arts building at the University, is scheduled to be completed this fall.
Check out the video below to see how SAM works:
[guest post] Construction project owners are facing a big problem: paper based progress reports and invoices are making it nearly impossible to quickly find and address errors. The tool kit of the past included a magnifying glass, a pencil (and eraser) and a calculator. Armed with endless human resources, project owners would diligently review paper based documentation for discrepancies. This MO is no longer feasible in the modern construction environment.
JBKnowledge, a construction technology and consultancy company, has been producing their annual Construction Technology Report since 2012. Now in its 7th year, it is far and away the most comprehensive collection of survey results in the construction technology sector.
I’m a strong proponent of reducing the amount of pen and paper used on construction jobsites. Handwriting notes is great for personal use, but as soon as you need to get those notes or reports to someone else, you either spend time duplicating your work on a computer or never get around to communicating, because your notes were misplaced, destroyed, or illegible. Fieldwire, a field software for collaborating on plans, punch lists, and scheduling, among others, has recently announced the release of a custom form building tool to reduce the need for paper on your jobsite.
As much as we like to push for the digitization of the construction jobsite on Construction Junkie, there’s no doubt that there are many within the construction workforce that are still apprehensive to go fully electronic. There’s something to be said for feeling and manipulating something with your hands, as opposed to pointing and clicking. SlatPlanner is a new way that construction companies can electronically build a project schedule, while maintaining a hands-on approach.
Ekso Bionics has been making exoskeletons since 2005. Originally designed with the military in mind, but then later shifted to physical therapy. In more recent years, they have begun targeting more physical professions, especially those with repetitive tasks or a lot of lifting. One of their most recent products is called the EksoVest.
As mobile apps and project management software are becoming more prominent on construction sites around the world, it’s important that those getting ready to enter the industry, whether it be through college or trade schools, get the training they need to hit the ground running with these programs. PlanGrid,a construction project management and mobile productivity software, has recently announced the release of PlanGrid Schools & Unions, which gives access to hands-on training curriculum and software licenses to industry educators.
When we first began talking about construction technology in 2015, there were a lot of pie-in-the-sky ideas. Many products had financial backing, but no legitimate proof of concept or path to a commercial market. Fast forward just 3 years and many of those same products are starting to hit limited jobsites and have a viable chance to succeed in the industry.
Autodesk, the software company synonymous with architectural and engineering design, has gobbled up yet another construction related software just a few week after its massive acquisition of PlanGrid. It’s most recent acquisition, BuildingConnected, will help bolster Autodesk’s growing construction brand and help them grow additional profit pipelines.
Almost 3 years ago, Milwaukee Tool rolled out its tool tracking application called ONE-KEY, which is available on Apple, Android, or the web. The tool manufacturer has an ever-expanding line of tools that are ONE-KEY enabled, which not only let users edit the settings of their tools through an app, but they also allow them to lock out a tool, rendering it useless in case it’s lost or stolen.
Fresh of the heels of their $875 Million Acquisition by Autodesk, PlanGrid has released several enhancements to streamline your processes. Through the release of PlanGrid Connect and a couple other enhancements, it will now be easier than ever for users to reduce manual data entry across multiple applications.