Project development and construction company Skanska has won a funding award to help develop robots capable of onsite and off-site construction tasks.
The futuristic sounding plan is going ahead thanks to an award from a partnership between Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The two organisations are collaborating on a Research & Development project in the area of robotics in construction.
Now after being selected for the award Skanska will explore the use of robotic construction units that can be applied on construction sites or in factories where they can carry out useful work such as drilling and fixing parts of building structures in so called 'flying factories'. The idea behind a flying factory is to build structures off site that can speed up the assembly of a building on site. The benefits of using robotic units in flying factories include controlled conditions, safety, accuracy and removing possible delays and side effects from adverse weather.
The project which will start towards the end of 2015 will allow Skanska to explore the future possibilities of construction alongside a research consortium. Partners on the project include ABB Robotics, Tekla UK – a software company, The University of Reading, The Building Research Establishment and Lean Consultants Exelin.
The total grant for the project is for £709,000 and Skanska are delighted to have been awarded the project.
Skanska’s Head of Innovation, Sam Stacey said that robotics in construction is currently uncharted territory but could provide great opportunities. Stacey went on to add the example of an undesirable task such as drilling and fixing the underside of slabs, where robots could eliminate he need for working at height in a dusty and noisy environment.