In order to deal with the rapidly aging workforce, and the resulting shortage of Japanese manpower, construction contractor Obayashi Corporation chose to automate the construction of a dam with a team of workers. purely robot.
This project is implemented in Mie Prefecture, located on the southeast coast of Honshu Island. Obayashi developed automated devices to stack layers of concrete to build a dam that was 275 feet high and 1,096 feet wide. A concrete factory will also be built near this area to make construction more seamless.
Every step in the dam construction process involves some form of automation, including foundation construction. The tower cranes, which are responsible for placing concrete in the 160 square foot areas that make up the dam body, are remotely controlled by computers in the office, and this computer system also monitors the work. aligning the work’s zoning and construction progress too. Humans will only participate in crane control during emergencies.
If human workers often use a dedicated brush to handle uneven layers of concrete, robot-driven bulldozers developed by Obayashi will periodically smooth and polish the concrete. before placing another layer on top. And yet, another robot, also developed by Obayashi, will continuously push up the formwork to keep the un-frozen concrete from leaking out.
Although the amount of automated work is impressive, Obayashi said the army of robot workers only increased their productivity by about 10%, because humans still have to be present on the site to observe and check out these relatively new technologies. However, once the company researches more complete solutions, Obayashi expects productivity to be improved by up to 30%. Dam construction is a special type of construction suitable for automation, because it involves repetitive tasks for a long time at sites very far away from residential centers, thereby reducing risk. muscle trouble everyone.
With Japan’s construction workforce rapidly aging, companies are forced to act quickly, creating specialized robot armies before the current number of workers enters retirement. retired. In addition, Japan is also implementing stricter regulations related to overtime and will start to apply on all construction works from 2024. These regulations will lead to sub-resources. people fall further, causing the need to integrate automation in other types of construction.
Considering Japan’s urgent need to deal with its growing labor shortages, the country must act quickly and the industrial sector is clearly the ideal place for building robot testing. If this method is successful, it will be interesting to see it be applied on a variety of other construction projects, including civil and commercial construction.
The dam mentioned in the article is expected to be completed in March 2023.