Global robotics company ABB Robotics and Porsche Consulting will partner on developing methods to help automate the construction industry.
The two have announced a pilot project to create new approaches to manufacturing modular housing. It is hoped this will support the construction of more affordable and sustainable buildings.
“The construction industry is facing numerous challenges. Highly automated factories for buildings can deliver higher quality and more affordable housing,” said Eberhard Weiblen, chairman of the executive board, Porsche Consulting.
“In combining ABB’s leading robotic solutions and Porsche Consulting’s knowledge in planning and running state-of-the-art factories, we want to help transform this important industry.”
In the US, labour shortages are contributing to a housing shortfall of nearly four million homes, while Germany is forecast to have housing supply shortages in 35 of its cities by 2030.
The industry is struggling both with labour and the need to adapt to new sustainability and efficiency standards, such as reducing the transportation of raw materials to construction sites.
“We think there is a clear opportunity to transform this sector and the way homes are built by automating the process of manufacturing modular components,” added Marc Segura, president of the ABB Robotics Division.
“Greater, more intelligent automation is the answer to widespread labor shortages, and this collaboration will boost productivity, allow greater customisation, and enable more sustainable and efficient construction practices.”
Modular construction reduces material wastage and number of lost days due to adverse weather, with factories also often providing a safer working environment.
This industry, however, lags behind others in adopting robotics and automation. A global survey commissioned by ABB revealed that, of 1,900 large and small construction businesses in Europe, the US and China, only 55% percent of construction companies say they use robots, compared with 84% in automotive and 79% in manufacturing.
ABB Robotics was a winner at the first-ever Robotics & Automation Awards in the Best Use of Robotics or Automation in Construction categories. Read the full list of winners for the inaugural Robotics & Automation Awards – the most exciting new event for those working in the robotics and automation sectors! Check out exclusive coverage of the night in the November 2023 issue of Robotics & Automation.