Construction’s Next Big Opportunity: Leading Change
Some experts contend that the construction industry could literally “change the world” by accelerating adoption of new technologies. A recent report from the World Economic Forum, “Shaping the Future of Construction: A Breakthrough in Mindset and Technology”, illustrates construction’s critical impact on other industries, the environment and the economy:
• Currently construction is the largest global consumer of raw materials.
• Approximately 30% of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to buildings.
• Construction accounts for 6% of the global GDP.
Add to that, the population of the world’s urban areas is increasing by 200,000 people per day. They will need affordable housing as well as social, transportation and utility infrastructure, all of which create opportunities for the construction industry to lead in the use of innovative technologies across worksites.
As automation on construction sites grows (heavy equipment features like Cat® GRADE with Assist, unmanned aerial vehicles, robots and remote operations, for example) it will drive increased productivity. Other expected gains include:
• Reduced costs due to less rework and more efficient material management.
• Higher quality due to improved accuracy and precision.
• Improved safety due to additional monitoring and anti-fatigue devices.
These are opportunities for construction companies of all sizes to improve their bottom line and help create momentum for sustainable change in the industry.
While still in the early stages of development, many companies are piloting projects using 3D printed components. For example, in a project on 3D-printed steel components, global engineering firm, Arup achieved a 75% weight reduction and 40% reduction in materials compared with traditional production methods.
Robotics is coming out of manufacturing to work sites. For example, in 2017, a pedestrian steel bridge will be built across a canal in Amsterdam by a multi-axis robotic 3D printer. It’s a collaborative effort between 3D printing R&D firm MX3D, Autodesk, and construction and civil engineering company Heijmans. Their plan is to have engineers use AutoCAD to input the design and give directions to the robotic printers. Then, robots will heat the metal to a molten 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit and construct the bridge “drop by drop.” Amazingly, the steel—which is developed to “dry” rapidly—will be able to neutralize the effects of gravity to keep the lines straight. The autonomous robots will create their own supports and have the ability to cross the metal formations as they build a self-supporting bridge design.
These are just a few of the innovative opportunities included in Shaping the Future of Construction: A Breakthrough in Mindset and Technology. The report estimates that digitalization of nonresidential construction would, within 10 years, produce annual global cost savings of $700 billion to $1.2 trillion, a savings of 13% to 21% over current construction costs.
The challenge, of course, will be getting all the companies along the value chain to collaborate on this opportunity for the future. If you’re ready to help lead change, talk to you Cat dealer about how to innovate your business with Cat Connect Technology and Services.
Download the full report, Shaping the Future of Construction: A Breakthrough in Mindset and Technology https://www.bcgperspectives.com/Images/Shaping_the_Future_of_Construction_may_2016.pdf
Additional infrastructure examples can be found at http://www.areadevelopment.com/logisticsInfrastructure/Q1-2016/Innovations-Infrastructure-Boost-Manufacturing-098765.shtml