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21.04.2020

Robots on the building site: now construction workers can work remotely too

With remote-controlled construction equipment gaining acceptance, we’re starting to see semi-autonomous features too – and fully autonomous construction machines are just around the corner.

Remote-controlled tech allows operators to run machines safely from outside the cab, protecting them from risky situations. This can enable one person to do the work of two, as well as saving time on jobs that normally require the operator to get in and out of the cab frequently.

Another benefit of remote control is that it gives the operator a clear 360-degree view of the work, removing the need for a spotter.

It also creates a more comfortable and inclusive workplace, where operators who may be unable to sit in a cab for 8 or 10 hours can still do a solid day’s work. And by reducing fatigue and downtime and improving worker health – especially back health – remote control boosts productivity.

When choosing a remote-control solution, there are three key points to consider:

● Safety features: look for certified safety-rated Estop to stop the machine in an emergency, plus abandonment and drop signals.
● Security features: the system should make it easy to restrict access by operator or by machine, so only trained and authorised personnel can use the equipment.
● User-friendly remote: The remote should be tough enough to use outdoors in bad weather, but lightweight, intuitive to use and easy to program.

As remotes go, you can’t get more intuitive than your smartphone. Bobcat MaxControl Remote Operation is an iOS app that allows operators to control machines using an iPhone, iPad, or any Apple device.

Meanwhile, Caterpillar has released an exciting new Cat Command station that enables one user to use up to five machines of different types. It also feeds real-time sound and haptic feedback from the machine to the user to help them sense what the machine is doing as if they were inside it.

The move towards autonomous solutions may help combat the operator shortage by opening up roles to disabled workers and wounded veterans, and helping inexperienced operators get up to speed faster with a range of operator assist features.

Built Robotics has deployed fully autonomous constriction machines on commercial projects in Australia and the US, and says they work at about the same speed and responsiveness as human-controlled machines, but suffer less wear and tear and use less fuel because they move more efficiently. Other advantages include improving safety by keeping operators out of harm’s way, boosting productivity by freeing up skilled workers for other tasks, and extending operations by allowing jobsites to run through the night.

What’s more, setting up a robotic operation doesn’t have to be complex. Existing machines can be upgraded to become autonomous in one or two days, and the software can use existing site plans to create its own virtual maps and plans. The software is not expensive, and quickly pays for itself in terms of cost savings.

This makes autonomous and remote solutions an invaluable tool for any contractor looking to work as safely and cost-effectively as possible.
Posted by: Extraman Recruitment