Construction Robots Have Major Disruptive Potential in a Heavily Manual Industry
Construction robots are professional service robots currently used in the construction of new buildings. Aligning with the altruistic and practical ideas of the Father of Robotics Joseph Engelberger, typically, these robots automate dangerous and laborious tasks to keep workers out of harm’s way and let them focus on more productive activities. Like most robots, construction robots prove their worth by providing major operational cost-savings through increased uptime and decreased labor costs. The construction industry is a historically labor-intensive industry with little to no automation, but this is beginning to change in a big way.
The construction robots market is projected to reach $321 Million in value by 2022, growing at a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7%1. According to the International Federation of Robotics 2017 Service Robots World Report, there were fewer than 1,000 construction robots sold in 2016. However, between 2018 and 2020, more than 3,100 construction robots are expected to be sold.
Construction robots are still in their infancy, but a few primary applications are emerging as the first commercially viable robots have entered the market. A few new uses of construction robots include:
- 3D printing of large structures using a robotic arm and additive manufacturing techniques;
- robots for bricklaying
- dual-arm robotic heavy equipment for disaster relief situations;
- climbing robots for construction of tall structures;
- and wearable exoskeletons to assist workers performing laborious tasks.
While construction robots are still relatively new, they’re gaining momentum as a cost-effective automation solution. The potential market share of these robots is enormous as the construction industry continues to embrace robotic automation. As the technology improves and return on investment (ROI) is recognized, demand for construction robots is likely to experience rapid growth.