Innovation That Matters

A new robot that paints high-rise buildings


In Singapore, a university partnership has developed a robotic system that can paint and wash the exterior of high-rise buildings.

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Robotic technology is increasingly being developed to help people avoid dangerous situations. Good examples of innovations doing just that are these drone-mounted lights that follow users, lighting their journey in areas without street lamps. Similarly, is this equipment designed for firefighters which, amongst other things, contains a device designed to improve navigation in smoke-filled buildings through vibrations and thermal imaging. Now, OutBot is a robot that paints high-rise buildings.

OutoBot is a response to Singapore’s Housing & Development Board’s (HDB) recent call for proposals to automate the painting of its high-rise buildings. The innovation increases efficiency and enhances worker safety. Normally, painting a building requires a minimum of five people. This includes one on the ground, one on the roof, and three in the gondola that moves up and down the face of the structure. Contrastingly, OutBot just needs a ground-based operator and a safety officer. Here is how it works: a camera-guided robotic arm mounted on its own special gondola, moves a spray nozzle back and forth across the building’s surface. The nozzle delivers a high-pressure jet of paint, avoiding windows as it goes. The advantages of OutBot are many. It requires fewer people, there is no danger of falling and it doesn’t have to take breaks. It also applies a more consistent coat and uses approximately 20 percent less paint to do so.

Developed as a partnership between ELID Technology International and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the robot can also be used to clean high-rise buildings. With so many advantages, could this technology be applied more widely in the construction industry?




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