The construction industry is changing as the drive for connected manufacturing and improved robots shape this long-standing workforce. For thousands of years, the construction industry has persisted and been behind some of the most notable wonders of past. Coupled with engineering and architecture, it is arguably one of the most important bedrocks to human innovation.
In the modern era, construction is changing as companies begin to implement versatile manufacturing robots into applications on job sites. One example of this innovation is seen in the bricklaying robot detailed below in a story by VICE News. This specific robot works to lay brick facades on buildings, capable of up to 3000 bricks per day per machine. In comparison, a skilled bricklayer can average close to 1000 per day.
The improved efficiency is there with this machine and it’s being practically implemented in construction sites. This all begs the question to where automation will take the construction field. We’ve discussed the idea of manufacturing merging with the construction industry before. In this post from late last year, I discussed how the construction industry is beginning to favor – even mirror – the processes used in the manufacturing industry.
All of this innovation is great, it improves efficiency, decreases job times, ultimately leading to a cheaper construction process. So, where then will the human jobs go?
There’s no question that seeing a robot do your job 3 times as fast and possibly better is a little unsettling. If you watched the video above, you can see how workers feared that down the line this robot may leave them without work. The CEO of the company who creates these bricklaying robots remains adamant that construction robots will only augment and improve the jobs of the modern builder. And for now, this still appears to be true.
It takes a team of workers to run the machine and keep feeding it new materials. This has shifted workers from the harder job of laying bricks to the somewhat easier job of simply feeding bricks and mortar into a machine. For now, their jobs have gotten easier through automation.
Image Source: Vice News
Even with all of this said, there will come a point where a machine will be invented that feeds the bricklaying robot, thus eliminating the human aspect altogether. This is certainly a scary future for many who work in construction, but we have to rely on the basic tenets of physical innovation: innovation always brings new industry. Robotics and artificial intelligence will surely change the construction industry, but it appears that it will be to the benefit of all.