Home Articles New General Articles Innovations and Technologies at The Construction Sites: The Need of The hour

Innovations and Technologies at The Construction Sites: The Need of The hour

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Innovation is a wide concept that includes improvements in processes, products or services. It involves incorporating new ideas which generate changes that help solve the needs of a company and so increase its competitiveness. The application of innovation to the construction industry is not straight forward, despite the importance of this sector in the development and growth of the wider economy. Every construction project is different, which means that construction companies have to adapt their processes and resources to suit each project. Every site is a singular prototype whose configuration changes over time. Construction works are located in different places, and involve the constant movement of personnel and machinery. In addition, the weather and other factors can prevent consultants from applying previous experience effectively.

Innovation needs to change from being just the application of good ideas to a process that can be managed, measured and controlled systematically. Consequently, the standardisation of innovation is very impor-tant. The key lies in considering innovation as a management process. Each part of the organisation can control and improve different aspects of innovation and integrate them into the rest of the company’s processes.

Discussed below are few of the important innovation in products and technologies happening across globe.

Innovation in construction products

Design a Material 10 Times the Strength of Steel

For years, scientists have known that graphene, in its two dimensional form, is one of the strongest materials on the planet.  But, converting that strength into a useful three dimensional product has been a major struggle. While studying this material, MIT researchers Markus Buehler, Zhao Qin, Gang Seob Jung, and Min Jeong Kang Meng have discovered that the geometrical configuration may be more important to a material’s strength the the material itself. By manipulating the structure, they believe they not only can increase the strength, but greatly reduce the weight in the process.

To illustrate their findings, the team 3D printed oddly shaped cubes of plastic and applied pressure to them.  The version with thicker walls, which would seem stronger, actually failed faster than the less rigid version with thinner walls,

Hard Hat Attachment Senses When Workers Are Fatigued

The Life Band, as the technology is known, is a headband that can be affixed to a hard hat, or worn separately, and measures the brain activity of the wearer.  The band connects wirelessly to the “Life” app, which is available for both iOS and Android, sends a warning signal if signs of fatigue are shown.

SmartCap, the manufacturer of the band, has several other versions of the product, including a baseball cap and a beanie. According to the Construction Enquirer, the technology was first developed for the mining industry.  BAM Nuttall, a large contractor in the UK, is now testing the product in their rail sector for projects in Wales and will soon also test it out in Scotland.

Construction Applications Integrating with Each Other

When an entire industry is up for grabs from a technology standpoint, you are likely to see a flood of companies looking to get a piece of the pie and then, eventually, a few will rise to the top as leaders.  Several programs have dominated the construction industry for years, like Autodesk’s AutoCAD and Revit, and scheduling software like Microsoft Project and Primavera, but the Project Management field has been a bit of a free-for-all.

I believe that the industry has reached a turning point and the field will start to be whittled down in the coming years.  As that begins to happen, major players have started to realize that they can’t do EVERYTHING and must start to rely on other programs and applications in specific areas.  They also realized that companies are already committed to other app makers and it is difficult to make them switch platforms.

JCB, VOLVO, Caterpillar are few of the companies in India doing this perfectly.

 

 

Driverless Dozers and the Dawn of Autonomous Vehicle Technology in Construction

At the nucleus of this robotic revolution are driverless cars, which are now legal in 22 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and are expected to be available to the public as early as 2019 in the form of taxis and possibly 2021 for general purchase. But cars aren’t the only vehicles ripe for automation. Buses, trains, and trucks also are poised for driverless upgrades, as are construction fleets-automation of which could yield the same benefits for industry that self-driving cars promise to yield for consumers.

Experiments in the mining industry offer a glimpse at what eventually could materialize in construction, according to Todd Gurela, senior director of Cisco’s Internet of Everything division, which has worked closely with international mining company Rio Tinto to enable automation at its Pilbara iron ore mines in Western Australia-home to ‘Rio Tintos Mine of the Future program.

Full Scale Heated Concrete Slabs Being Tested at Iowa Airport

Snow causes all kinds of travel nightmares and not just on the roads.  Snow and ice can cause major airline delays and flight cancellations.  Because of these issues (and the large amounts of money to be gained by solving them) several different groups of researchers have been hard at work figuring out ways to reduce and remove snow and ice from pavement without the need for chemicals and snow plows. The first technology to get a full scale test slab installed at an American airport, however, came from Iowa State University professor Halil Ceylan.

The Des Moines International Airport has been testing two 15 foot by 13.5 foot test slabs of Ceylan’s electrically conductive concrete since Fall of 2016.  Throughout the winter, which happened to be fairly mild, the heating elements in the test slabs were manually managed through the use of a smartphone app.

Unlike another heated concrete that Construction Junkie wrote about that contained 20% metal and carbon particles, Ceylan’s design only uses 1% carbon fiber. Each test slab is a total of 7.5 inches thick placed in two layers, with just the top 3.5 inches are electrically conductive. Snow causes all kinds of travel nightmares and not just on the roads.  Snow and ice can cause major airline delays and flight cancellations. Because of these issues (and the large amounts of money to be gained by solving them) several different groups of researchers have been hard at work figuring out ways to reduce and remove snow and ice from pavement without the need for chemicals and snow plows. The first technology to get a full scale test slab installed at an American airport, however, came from Iowa State University professor Halil Ceylan.

The Des Moines International Airport has been testing two 15 foot by 13.5 foot test slabs of Ceylan’s electrically conductive concrete since Fall of 2016.  Throughout the winter, which happened to be fairly mild, the heating elements in the test slabs were manually managed through the use of a smartphone app.

Unlike another heated concrete that Construction Junkie wrote about that contained 20% metal and carbon particles, Ceylan’s design only uses 1% carbon fiber. Each test slab is a total of 7.5 inches thick placed in two layers, with just the top 3.5 inches are electrically conductive.

First Fully Functional 3D Printed Excavator

There’s 3D printed Lego construction equipment…and then there’s Project AME, the first fully functional, full-size 3D printed excavator in the world. AME stands for Additive Manufactured Excavator, and was developed as a joint collaboration between Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Research teams of graduating engineering students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the University of Minnesota, and Georgia Tech also worked on Project AME.

The excavator, a prototype to demonstrate what’s possible in terms of large-scale additive materials technologies, proved without a doubt that it is feasible to 3D print with metal alloys, and was finally unveiled and demonstrated yesterday at CONEXPO-CON/AGG (aptly themed Imagine What’s Next) and IFPE 2017 in Las Vegas.

Targeting Construction Trades with New Mixed Reality Hard Hat Accessory

Several years ago, Microsoft released their introduction into the mixed reality headset market with the Microsoft HoloLens. The headset, which looks like a pair of bulky, futuristic sunglasses, was touted as a game changer to many different industries.  After teaming up with Trimble to directly tackle the construction industry and developing a couple construction technologies for the headset, construction companies have still been extremely hesitant to try out the technology.

Microsoft isn’t giving up on our industry though, as they’ve recently announced that a HoloLens hard hat accessory is in the works and will be released early 2018.

In addition to the accessory, the HoloLens has also passed some important safety and durability tests. These tests have recently confirmed that the headset meets the requirements of ANSI Z87.1, which allows them to be used as safety glasses.

In a blog post about the release announcement, Microsoft Hololens’ General Manager Lorraine Bardeen explained how she expects the updates to positively affect firstline and information workers. Some of the benefits include:

  • Mixed Reality Data & Analytic
  • Remote assist to allow real-time collaboration with a remote expert
  • First-person perspective training manuals and how-to guide
  • Augmented reality design features
  • Mixed Reality Meetings

Self-Driving Track Loader

Piloting construction equipment like an excavator can take a lot of skill, and the best drivers have honed their ability to accomplish all kinds of zany tasks. But the most basic job of pushing around dirt and moving it from pile to pile are, in fact, simple enough to be automated. That’s right folks, the self-driving bulldozer has arrived.

Built Robotics was founded by ex-Google engineer Noah Ready-Campbell, and the Autonomous Track Loader (ATL) is the star of its show. Using a combination of the LIDAR tech similar to what you can find in self-driving cars, and souped up GPS technology that allows for location-sensing down to the centimeter, the ATL is able to perform simple but arduous tasks like digging a hole once you tell it where and how large that hole should be.

In some ways, programing an autonomous construction vehicle is easier than programing a care. Namely that while secluded in its workzone, it doesn’t have to worry about dodging other vehicles and can simply halt all movement if it detects a vehicle or person it might hit. But some things it is designed to hit, like the piles of dirt around the worksite, so its LIDAR had to be specifically engineered with the rough and bumpy conditions in mind, and with modifications to help detect how much dirt it is hauling around at any given time.

Construction Technologies at the site

Virtual Reality

New construction technology is rapidly shifting the way construction is done, from apps on mobile devices to laser scanning and drone photogrammetry. Few construction sites have fully escaped the onward march of technology, but many companies have really embraced it, and are reaping substantial rewards. Virtual Reality (VR) is one new technology that is changing the construction industry by solving old problems. Virtual reality in construction is the next level in 3D modeling. Like 3D modeling, it involves a detailed virtual model of the project. Unlike 3D modeling, it places the user directly inside the virtual environment, so that the user experiences a full immersion into the virtual space.

Because every building is different and every site is unique, construction has never been an easily scaled industry. VR changes that by making it easy to share across teams and get new teams quickly up to date on relevant issues.

Creating a 3D model of a construction site used to be a complex physical process that required space, time, and materials. These miniature models were helpful in orienting the project, but by necessity contained inaccuracies and lacked detail.

3D modeling software changed the game by making it possible not only to create a detailed, accurate model more quickly and cheaply, but also by making it possible to share those models across teams. VR takes it to a new level by making it possible for people to immerse themselves in the project as though they were actually there, and interact with the environment exactly as though engaged in a walk-through.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a live, copied view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input. Virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one whereas augmented reality takes the real world and adds to it with-in the case of architecture-a 3D model of your design.

With the help of advanced augmented-reality technology such as computer vision and object recognition, the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and able to be digitally manipulated. In augmented reality, computer software must derive real-world coordinates, independent from the camera or from camera images.

Augmented reality in construction and architecture projects involves placing a 3D model of a proposed design onto an existing space using mobile devices and 3D models.

Wearable Technology

As technology continues to grow, we see it intertwining itself into every area of our lives – and work is no exception! While the construction industry has been slower in the adoption of technology, it is now recognizing the enormous benefits of implementing technology on the job site. Wearable technology is one trend that is beginning to gain traction within the industry. Through wearable devices, the construction industry can collect information and communicate easier than ever before. One of the biggest benefits of wearable technology in construction is the safety improvements. Wearable devices are typically worn on a worker’s waist belt, allowing for constant connection with site supervisors. If an accident occurs, wearable technologies can help to save lives through slip and fall detection. Through GPS technology, it can alert supervisors and give them a worker’s exact location. Injuries can be extremely time-sensitive, highlighting the importance of responding and acting as quickly as possible.

3D Printing

3D printing isn’t new to many of us no doubt, but the same cannot be said about the construction industry. Over the years, we’ve come to realize one thine – the construction industry has pretty much remained the same in day to day construction activities save for the use of a few power tools. This was until 2004 when Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of University of Southern Carolina built the first 3D wall. That act brought the 3D printing technology to a revered position and till date, there have been numerous applications of the technology. Ever since then, sellers of 3D printers have recorded increased sales.Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis developed a process known as contour crafting. This contour crafting process was instrumental to their building the inner and outer walls of a house.

Firstly, the professor designed a 3D printer that was used to test the process on a small scale inside the lab. After achieving good results, he then proceeded to build a bigger 3D printer that could be used in the main construction site. The 3D printer was designed to work on a flat ground slab. On the side of the building, rails were installed on the sides of the area marked for the building. These rails were meant to support the gantry crane that spanned the entire length of the whole building area. The 3D printer had nozzles from which it delivered layers of concrete. The layers of concrete thus build up the inner and outer skins of the wall of the house. Then the company fills the gap in-between with either an insulator or more concrete.

UAVs Are Being Used in Construction Projects

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are being used for different reasons in the construction industry. As a tool that improves communication, safety, and marketing, drones can offer many advantages when used in some applications on a construction project capturing real-time images from the field. Drones are machines operated by remote control, usually a small flying machine, but they can also be ground-based.?

Drones can offer unprecedented aerial images of a project site, much more accurate and realistic than aerial photographs. Many construction sites are using drones, and I will explain the legal risk and challenges in subsequent paragraphs, for surveying, mapping and to create 3D renderings of a project. Not only as surveying tools, but drones are also now used as a marketing tool, as they can record the actual progress and conditions of a project during a specific moment, presenting those images to potential clients, investors, and/or lending institutions.

Automation and Expert Systems

The use of computerized expert systems for construction applications is a growing trend. Current examples include systems to diagnose vibration problems in rotating machinery and systems to verify weld performance qualifications. he use of expert systems will probably be the most important application of artificial intelligence techniques for construction over the next decade. By the turn of the century, there is good potential for increased use of self-directed robots controlled by expert systems. Such advanced-application robots would finish concrete and spray paint buildings (already being done in Japan), apply sprayed insulation to structural steel members, and even install structural steel. Robots in construction would differ from those in a manufacturing or production line setting, where the robotic units generally are stationary and tasks are performed on products as they move by. In construction, the building is stationary and the robot would have the ability to move about in the performance of its tasks. Technologies such as laser range-finding and geodetic positioning can be used to pinpoint exact locations, to automate storage areas on the job site, and to set guide tracks for remotely operated vehicles. These technologies will gradually be integrated into a coherent system for the highly automated control of certain job site activities.

Conclusion

Innovation is the only way forward, we should preserve the past and move towards future!

Info and Image

  • https://www.nap.edu
  • https://connect.bim360.autodesk.com
  • https://www.designingbuildings.
  • https://www.autodesk.com/
  • https://3dprint.com/
  • http://www.modularhomecoach.com
  • https://connect.bim360.autodesk.com
  • https://esub.com
  • https://www.constructionjunkie.com
  • https://www.business.com
  • https://www.ennomotive.com
  • https://www.thebalancesmb.com

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