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Innovative Construction Technologies Emerging from Skilled Labor Shortage

Contractors around the globe have been vocal about the consistent and detrimental labor shortages affecting the construction industry today. At home and abroad, we've seen a decline in the availability of skilled labor, creating additional challenges and pressures in an already high-stakes industry. Some have tried to turn the tide with short-term resolutions like increased pay or added incentives, while others have put off retirement, invested in construction education, or taken on apprenticeships to hopefully address the longer term effects of this alarming decline in key trademembers.

One area of the construction industry that has boomed during this time, however, is that of construction technology and robotics. In an attempt to fill the gaps left by skilled labor shortages and increase the productivity + efficiency of a smaller workforce, construction robotics has introduced some interesting concepts and extraordinary equipment. These game-changing innovations bring many benefits to the jobsite, including higher productivity, better finished quality, and valuable reductions in overtime, inefficiencies, and costly mistakes. 

Check out a few of our favorites below:

  • Construction Robotics' SAM100 - SAM, aka the Semi-Automated Mason, is the first commercially available bricklaying robot. Developed by Construction Robotics, a leading construction automation company out of New York, the SAM100 can reportedly place between 300-400 bricks per hours, about 5x more than your average human mason.   
    • Interested in other cool tools from Construction Robotics? Check out The MULE ( aka the Material Unit Lift Enhancer) which tool designed to alleviate "the stress of repetitive heavy lifting while simultaneously productivity and finished quality."
  • Gita from Piaggio Fast Forward - Gita is described as a mobile-carrier, a land drone, an integral element in the future of mobility. A robotic vehicle that is able to carry up to 44 pounds independently, Gita can follow the leader or can deliver autonomously. Designed to enhance human freedom and efficiency, Gita is not only for the construction industry, but certainly expected to impact jobsite efficiency and productivity greatly. 
  • Cazza 3D Printing Mini-Tanks - These mini-tanks are actually crane like vehicles that are said to be able to lay over 2,000 square feet of concrete within a single workday. Founded in Silicon Valley by Chris Kelsey and Fernando de Los Rios in 2016, Cazza's Mini-Tanks make it possible to build a three-story house in two days with an estimated 2 workers. Kelsey anticipates "a potential labor cost reduction of up to 90%" for construction companies embracing this new generation of building technology. 
  • Ekso Bionics' EksoZeroG- This powerful job-assist tool delivers a mounted zero gravity arm able to provide up to 36 lbs of lift support, to assist with the operation of heavy tools such as rivet busters and impact wrenches on the jobsite. The addition of job-assist tools like the "0G" allows for workers to perform faster and more accurately, while experiencing less fatigue and injury. 
Check out this video for a side-by-side performance comparison with and without the ExksoZeroG. 
  • Also from Ekso Bionics is the EksoVest, similar to the EksoZeroG, but optimized for those working with smaller hand tools. The EksoVest provides 5-15 lbs of lift assistance per arm and weighs under 10 lbs, making it realistic to be worn for longer periods of time. 

The primary goal of new construction technologies at this time is really to improve the overall work experience for the construction labor force by increasing efficiency, easing physical stress, and shortening time to completion for labor-heavy tasks. These benefits also have the ripple effect of making construction a more appealing industry for rising career seekers, and thus, reinvigorating the skilled labor force down the line. 

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Topics: UDA Technologies Business Building

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