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Construction Automation: Assessment of State of the Art and Future Possibilities
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The world of automation has grown rapidly for the last four decades and it is driven by higher demands from users, technology development and maturity of technologies of industrial processes. Companies all over the world have automated their manufacturing processes which have led to billions of dollars in productivity and quality improvements. In the construction industry innovation transpires extremely slowly and a reluctance to implement new strategies and a low research and development budget also contribute to the slow innovation rate. Because of this, technical innovations such as automation solutions are uncommon in the construction industry. Methods and concepts from the manufacturing industry, such as lean principles and mass customization, have for some time tried to be implemented the construction industry to reach higher productivity. However, despite those efforts, automation solutions are not yet commonplace on the average construction site.

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate existing and emerging automation solutions that could be used to automate on-site construction operations with the use of digital technologies. Empirical and theoretical studies were conducted. A literature study was conducted to gain knowledge regarding the construction industry and its digitalization and general level of automation. This was then complemented with an interview study, where Skanska AB’s Technical Specialist was one of the interviewees, in addition to being the company’s mentor for this thesis. Skanska served as an example of a representative construction company since it is one of the largest construction companies in the world. To widen the data collection, the interview study included several relevant companies where their representatives were interviewed regarding their own state of digitalization and automation.

For guiding the purpose of the thesis, three research questions were formulated. The research for answering these questions led to the resulting findings regarding what is possible to automate on the construction site, what the benefits could be from implementing such solutions and what the challenges are which needs to be overcome.

The results of these studies show that the construction industry is facing challenges regarding the implementation of automation solutions. Examples of this are the lack of data in general, safety concerns and project planning operations. The currently existing industrial robots, for example, are generally heavy with low lifting capacity to weight ratio which is not much of a problem in a manufacturing setting, but it makes for an imperfect fit in the construction industry, since movability and high lifting capacity is of interest for such implementations. This thesis provides knowledge of available technologies that can be used for implementing automation at the construction site as well as what benefits can be expected from successful implementations of such solutions, such as higher productivity, increased profitability and increased safety for both equipment and personnel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 62
Keywords [en]
Construction Automation, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Robotics
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-39553OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-39553DiVA, id: diva2:1213613
External cooperation
Skanska AB
Subject / course
Product and Process Development
Presentation
2018-05-30, Filharmonin, Smedjegatan 37, Eskilstuna, 09:00 (Swedish)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-08 Created: 2018-06-05 Last updated: 2018-06-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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