Time to look forward - not backwards

As we face the future, emerging from one of humanities biggest crisis yet, we need to think carefully about our next step. How do we handle our production chains, what if our employees get sick? How do we manage our work sites and factories to keep the virus from spreading? Can automation help us keep the distance and production capacity?



There are still conservative voices that advocate that the construction industry is to resilient to change and that the demand for housing is to diverse and custom for automation, to be feasible.

I beg to differ. Almost every day i talk to customers that are passionate and eager to adopt their ways, to embrace this shift in technology we are seeing. Every day we as automation specialists adapt to our customers needs both in technology and scale. And I am not only talking about big companies with high volume orders, that are already in to offsite construction. I am also talking about the smaller companies with innovative ideas and start ups that refuse to accept that everything is as it should be..

Part of the problem could be that automation specialists in offsite construction likes to show massive production lines in massive factories in ads and articles, and that gives the impression of that scale is necessary.

Compact, scalable and modular systems.

Automation, and now especially robotics, could be essential also for many smaller businesses. It is up to us automation specialists to work with our customers and together find ways to make automation feasible, also for them. I know this is possible, we do it every day.

Adaptable, flexible and future proof

A industrial robot can thank´s to it´s versatility do much of what a human can do, but it´s still not always economical to replace all kinds of work tasks. Tasks like wiring and duct installations, are for now, best suited for manual operations but with progress in BIM and standardization I´m confident it will happen in the near future. Robots with 7 axis and tool changers makes future retrofits like this possible.

The human body is, after all quite the amazing machine, complete with strength, super flexibility, integrated dual vision systems and in most cases :) super high built in processing power and quick decision making..

The key is to start in the right end and work your way up the complexity ladder while focusing on the dull/dirty and dangerous task of construction.

An example is board handling and fastening. Often a job for two or more workers, forced to work closely together. It´s a tough job for the human body. Often heavy, repetitive, and stretching over or upwards to reach while handling tools. © 2020 Randek



In Randek´s case We have put our focus on offsite construction, enabling and optimizing automation in an effective environment. This is, as most would agree, a crucial step to combat lack of housing and qualified personell. When it comes to on site automation there are many exciting solutions both emerging and readily available, such as autonomous robots for earth moving, brick laying, inspection and measuring. Believe it or not, we are part of a industry that is moving fast, probably faster than when general industrial automation robotics emerged in the 70´s and 80´s.



I know its a often used example, but if all cars were still hand built, then cars would simply not be accessible for the majority of people due to cost and availibility. Housing is essential in our lives, it´s our base of operation, our comfort zone, the place where we mark our children's growth on the door posts. The place to feel safe. Let us all pull together to make this available for everyone while doing it safe and efficient for the people making it possible.




Randek

Randek develops, manufactures and markets high-performance machines and systems for prefabricated house manufacturing. The product range consist of: cut saws, wall floor and roof lines, roof truss system, butterfly tables and special machines. The automation level stretches from fully automated to manual.
The company history goes back to the 1940s and began working in close cooperation with the first prefabricating house producers. Today leading house producers in over 40 countries are using Randek machines and system.

www.randek.com

Ola Skoglund
COO, Randek Robotics