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Construction Industry Builds Cities with Robots

by Audrey Hazel

In order to cope with the shrinking and aging labor force, the construction industry attaches more and more importance to robots, and the construction of future cities will require robot assistance.

(Photo from Pixabay.com)

Osaka, Japan (Merxwire) – The world is facing an aging population. In Japan, for example, more than 25% of people are over 65 years old, and this number may rise to 40% in the next 40 years. This is bad news for the construction industry, so the degree of automation in the construction industry needs to be increased.

Global population aging

Countries around the world are facing an aging population, and Japan is one of the fastest aging countries. According to statistics, one third of workers in the Japanese construction industry are over 54 years old and they are considering retirement as soon as possible.

Shinichi Sakamoto is a 57-year-old deputy head of Japan’s Shimizu Production Technology Division. “They have not been replaced by young builders, the number of labourers under 30 is just above 10%”, he says.

The construction industry is an industry that requires a lot of manpower. When the world faces an aging population, and young people’s willingness to enter the construction industry is getting lower and lower, the industry needs to be transformed.

Construction industry uses robots

Shimizu, one of Japan’s largest construction companies, is already introducing robots. Robo-Carrier is working on a high-rise development in Osaka, transports heavy gypsum board pallets nightly from the ground floor to where they’re needed. Young people are not involved in the construction industry and therefore need the assistance of robots.

“Can you imagine that materials are in the right position in the morning when labourers come to the site? He even works at night time.” Mr Sakamoto said. 

Robotics technology is gradually developing. With 5G mobile networks, better connectivity will make it easier for multiple robots to work in coordination. 

Manpower and Automation

With the help of robots, building materials can be set and arranged neatly. The 5D mobile network makes the robots run more smoothly. 3D printing technology can print concrete according to plans. Many work links can achieve cooperation through robotic grouping and division of labor.

Shimizu is introducing more robots with different functions. Robo-Welder welds steel columns, while Robo-Buddy, inserts hanger bolts and installs ceiling boards. The robot works on its own, and the leader only needs to distribute tasks on the tablet.

Although robots can provide labor, which is very helpful in an ageing world, the balance of labor and automation also needs attention. How to prevent machines from replacing human beings, and how we present the unique values of human beings, these issues are worth thinking about.

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