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Robotics in industrialized construction: an activity-based ranking system for assembly manufacturing tasks

Behnam M. Tehrani (Smart IDC Lab, M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)
Samer BuHamdan (Laboratoire de Mécanique Multiphysique Multiéchelle, LaMcube, UMR 9013, Centrale Lille, CNRS, Université de Lille, Lille, France)
Aladdin Alwisy (Smart IDC Lab, M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 27 December 2022

65

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the proven evidence of ever-growing productivity gains in the manufacturing industry as a result of years of research and investment in advanced technologies, such as robotics, the adoption of robots in construction is still lagging. The existing literature lacks technical frameworks and guidelines that account for the one-of-a-kind nature of construction projects and the myriad of materials and dimensional components in construction activities. This study seeks to address existing technical uncertainty and productivity issues associated with the application of robotics in the assembly-type manufacturing of industrialized construction.

Design/methodology/approach

To facilitate the selection of suitable robotic arms for industrialized construction activities, primarily assembly-type manufacturing tasks of offsite production processes, an activity-based ranking system based on axiomatic design principles is proposed. The proposed ranking system utilizes five functional requirements derived from robot characteristics—speed, payload, reach, degrees of freedom and position repeatability—to evaluate robot performance in an industrialized construction task using simulations of a framing station.

Findings

Based on design parameters obtained from activity-based simulations, seventy six robotic arms suitable for the framing task were scored and ranked. According to the sensitivity analysis of proposed functional requirements, speed is the key functional requirement that has a notable effect on productivity of a framing station and is thus the determinant in robot performance assessment for framing tasks.

Originality/value

The proposed ranking system is expected to augment automation in construction and serve as a preliminary guideline to help construction professionals in making informed decisions regarding the adoption of robotic arms.

Keywords

Citation

Tehrani, B.M., BuHamdan, S. and Alwisy, A. (2022), "Robotics in industrialized construction: an activity-based ranking system for assembly manufacturing tasks", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-02-2022-0143

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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