Robotics are becoming more and more prevalent in construction, from Hilti’s Jaibot drilling robot to Construction Robotics’ semi-autonomous bricklaying system. While some may worry that automation and robots will replace workers, remote control operation on construction sites is often removing humans from dangerous, repetitive tasks, helping to increase safety and address ongoing labor challenges.
According to the Association for Advancing Automation, demolition robots account for 90% of the construction robotics market, which is expected to reach $321 million this year. Remote-operated demolition robots keep the operator at a safe distance from the falling/flying debris and dust, fall hazards, and vibration, increasing safety and easing the physical burden on the labor force.
Advanced operations ensure ease of use and maximized efficiencies, while often providing a compact size and maneuverability for versatility of application. Most “dry” options can be used with a range of attachments to match the task, such as buckets, breakers, grapplers, crushers, and shears. Husqvarna says its DXR demolition robots plus one operator can replace three excavators within the same weight class or 22 workers with handheld hydraulic breakers.
Along with traditional demolition operations, hydrodemolition robots, from companies including Aquajet and Conjet, deliver similar remote operation with high-pressure water jets, ideal for repair work. “The automation of the hydrodemolition robots allows the operator to easily execute both selective and non-selective removals,” says Conjet. “And no matter which option you choose, the high-pressure water jet technology will create a rough surface, optimal for bonding of new concrete without creating any micro-cracks or damaging surrounding structure.”
“No one wants to hold a giant hammer anymore,” said Keith Armishaw, business development manager for Aquajet. “But give someone a radio remote like that, and the machine that has replaced 20 guys,” and that grabs their attention.
Click on the slide show to see five robotic demolition tools.