A German company has developed a robot that can speed up scaffolding assembly
Scaffolding is a major and unavoidable cost on most construction projects. In 2015, the on-site logistics market for scaffolding assembly accounted for more than EUR 20 billion worldwide. A large part of this cost is the time it takes to assemble scaffolding. Up to 80 percent of assembly time is spent on on-site logistics – ferrying bits of scaffolding up and down the growing construction. Additionally, the scaffolding industry has a poor safety record, with more than 6,000 accidents per year in Germany alone. Now Munich-based startup Kewazo is set to disrupt the scaffolding industry with a robotic scaffolding assistant that not only decreases risk, but greatly speeds up the time it takes to assemble scaffolding.
Kewazo worked with robotics experts Infineon Technologies to create a robot that can deliver materials to the workers where and when they need them. Kewazo’s robot moves up, down and along the scaffold structure. It uses a special track attached to the horizontal and vertical poles of the scaffold (the standards and ledgers). The robot uses a path-finding algorithm to locate itself along the scaffolding. It plans its journey to the assemblers supplying with materials as and where they need them. The robot uses machine-learning to build up a better picture of how human scaffolders work, and to adjust its delivery.
The Kewazo scaffolding system requires only two workers to operate, which the company claims will reduce labor costs. According to Kewazo, by allowing a constant flow of scaffolding materials to the assemblers, the robot can also decrease assembly time by up to 42 percent. As many scaffolding accidents occur while lifting materials, Kewazo could also cut down on days lost to injuries. At Springwise, we have seen robotics applied to a wide variety of industries, including art and food service. What other areas of construction could benefit from the use of robotics?