This article was originally featured on the Applied Software Blog. To read the original in its entirety, click HERE.
Construction companies that want to stay competitive need to stay on top of the latest in technology trends and high-tech construction solutions that are reshaping the way we design and build infrastructure and other structures for the government.
Today’s industrialized construction combines a number of technologies that enable companies to benefit through scalability, enhanced productivity, higher quality, reduced labor costs, and fewer delays.
Here is a look at five new construction technologies that are reshaping and revolutionizing how we bring infrastructure projects to life:
Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, builds things by depositing (adding) the required material in layers, whether that is plastic, concrete, molten metal, polymer, molten glass, or another substance.
With 3D printing, it’s feasible to proceed from a 3D model to a finished product with the physical output of one machine. Products can be unique, complex, custom parts and components that aren’t bound by the restraints of standard construction practices.
This is something that the government and military is already exploring – experimenting with 3d printing for the construction of temporary military housing, and even analyzing additive manufacturing as a way to build structures on other planets.
Big data increasingly comes from the building information modeling (BIM) process and its 3D models, the underlying databases of which can contain enormous amounts of synthesized data. The ability to process large amounts of information and gain insights from the resulting data pool is improving with enhanced sensors as part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
This potential for predictive analyses has been described by Autodesk as “construction intelligence.” The result can be recognizing patterns and tendencies in a current job and using those to predict similar variables in future jobs.
IoT enables the use of electronic sensors and actuators on physical objects, which can monitor information regarding performance. The information – i.e. temperature, humidity, proximity, gases, level, pressure, speed – gathered through this live tracking “telematics” process enables real-time input for making informed decisions.
The usefulness of IoT extends to the occupied project, monitoring such things as energy usage and other trends. It can also inform features of future projects.
Prefabrication processes construct building components and modules at an offsite location then transport them to the jobsite to be incorporated into the project. Prefab includes modular construction and panelization.
Modular construction results in a self-contained module, like a bathroom pod, that gets set into place onsite. Panelized construction involves the structural components of a job, such as precast concrete walls, that are created offsite, hauled to the jobsite and usually installed a panel at a time.
There are even some government agencies exploring prefabricated temporary housing as a solution for rehousing victims of natural disasters.
Robotics are perfectly suited to performing heavy, dangerous, dirty, or monotonous tasks like lifting or repetitive handling of materials. Engineers provide the creativity, knowledge and programming, and machines do the hard work.
Robotic machines can also be outfitted with IoT sensors so they can gather details about site conditions or even self-performance. An operator/handler can monitor that information and make incremental adjustments to optimize efficiency.
As technology advances, it will take industrialized construction in directions most of us cannot yet envision. Collaborating on common goals and standards for industrialized construction technologies can ensure those advancements will be beneficial to all stakeholders. Widespread adoption of industrialized construction promises an exciting and productive future for the industry.