Six smart tools that are shaping construction sites of the future
The construction industry has long been known for its reliance on manual labour, and many of the tasks can be repetitive, strenuous and risky. However, rapid developments in technology are leading to greater use of advanced hardware and smart machines, which not only complement human labour but also make construction sites safer and more efficient. So, let’s take a closer look at six of these exciting new innovations.
1. Visual aids increase safety and help workers
By using augmented reality (AR), in smart glasses or via a heads-up display, a machine operator or driver can now get digital information overlaid on their specific view of the workplace. This can help them navigate better, identify obstacles and perform tasks with greater precision. AR and smart glasses can also be of great help when repairing machines in the field, and reduce the need for hard copy manuals. Helmets with built-in screens and other wearable devices can provide construction workers with access to real-time information directly at their place of work. This can include everything from drawings to safety instructions, which increase efficiency and safety. It is also possible to film work activities.
2. Drones and LIDAR scanning
Drones, including those with thermal imaging cameras, have become commonplace for monitoring and control activities, especially in inaccessible areas of construction sites. LIDAR (light+radar) is a laser-driven scanner that can generate very precise 3D images. These can be linked directly to a BIM system and thus used to identify deviations from drawings in real time. This technology can replace traditional photographic documentation and construction diaries, thus making the project manager’s job easier.
3. Wearables keep track of your health and wellbeing
It’s not just fighter pilots and astronauts who can wear smart vests and uniforms that monitor their heart rate, body temperature and more. In addition to smart glasses and helmets, there are now also vests, shoes and gloves equipped with biometric sensors for construction workers. These can monitor the wearer’s health, position and surroundings. For example, if a worker is exposed to dangerous levels of noise, vibration or UV radiation, the smart vest can alert the wearer and their supervisor in real time.
4. Self-driving vehicles for transport on and to construction sites
Several companies have started testing the use of autonomous or self-driving vehicles on construction sites. These vehicles can perform tasks such as material transport and ground preparation without the need for human intervention. If used in the right context, this can result in a more efficient workplace together with reduced operating costs.
5. Robots can build walls, and exoskeletons help with heavy lifting
Robot technology has been developed to handle tasks such as masonry, concrete pouring, welding and even drywall installation. These robots can work faster and with greater precision than humans, which reduces the risk of errors and accidents. And if you don’t want to go to such extents, there are exoskeletons that help users lift heavy loads and perform repetitive tasks with less risk of fatigue and repetitive strain injuries.
6. Smart machines and IoT reduce risks
There are now tools that can be connected to the internet and communicate with other devices online. For example, a smart drill can inform a construction worker when maintenance is needed or if the battery is running low. There are also machines that can be controlled remotely, which allows work to be carried out in inaccessible and dangerous places without the need to physically be there.
The rapid development of hardware and smart machines in the construction industry is a clear sign of a changing industry. By adopting these technologies, companies can increase their efficiency, reduce costs and create a safer working environment for their employees. Technological advances are also predicted to help make the industry more sustainable. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the construction industry.
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