Sweden’s construction company Skanska has been looking at ways to automate aspects of the build process to make them safer, faster, and more adaptable. One area the company has been investigating is using robots to produce cages of reinforcement bars (rebars).
Trials using ABB robots and ABB’s RobotStudio offline programming and simulation software, have met the goals of improving the speed and efficiency of the rebar cage manufacturing process. Overall, Skanska has reduced the time needed from 16 hours per tonne to just 1 hour per tonne.
The vast decrease in production time of this fundamental component will help to significantly improve project time schedules, with less time needed up front for the rebar process.
Another major benefit will be reducing the number of people involved in the rebar process, allowing workers to be used for other tasks and projects – this factor is particularly important as it is growing increasingly difficult to find workers that want to do these sorts of tedious and demanding tasks.
Sustainability of construction is another major issue for Skanska. Ulf Håkansson, Skanska’s head of design management, innovation and former technical director, says: “We can build rebars in Sweden using robots on site and truck them a short distance to where they are needed – efficiency is therefore much higher by manufacturing things on site.”