October 30, 2023
ABB Robotics and Porsche have announced a new collaboration to develop modular manufacturing processes and drive automation in the construction industry.
The pilot project will see the partners creating automated factories, as well as developing and testing robotic and automation technologies for modular manufacturing.
According to the pair, the project will address the need for more affordable and sustainable buildings, reducing the environmental and economic impact of construction as industries grapple with rising housing demands and ongoing labor shortages.
“The construction industry is facing numerous challenges,” said Eberhard Weiblen, Porsche Consulting’s chairman. “Highly automated factories for buildings can deliver higher quality and more affordable housing.
“In combining ABB’s leading robotic solutions and Porsche Consulting’s knowledge in planning and running state-of-the-art factories, we want to help transform this important industry.”
“We think there is a clear opportunity to transform this sector and the way homes are built by automating the process of manufacturing modular components,” said Marc Segura, president of ABB’s robotics division. “Greater, more intelligent automation is the answer to widespread labor shortages and this collaboration will boost productivity, allow greater customization and enable more sustainable and efficient construction practices.”
The announcement follows ABB’s survey investigating the use of automation technologies in the construction industry. Results showed adoption of automation and robotic technologies remained low in the construction industry when compared to other sectors, despite challenges seen in housing availability and labor shortages.
The survey, which looked at 1,900 large and small construction businesses across the U.S., Europe and China, found just more than half (55%) of those surveyed use robots, compared to 84% in automotive and 79% in manufacturing.
The survey also found tha 81% of construction businesses plan to introduce or increase the use of robotics and automation over the next decade.
“We … believe the transfer of technology and expertise to the construction sector will deliver the positive impact we have seen in other industries,” said Weiblen.
“We will bring our blueprint to life and demonstrate how robotic modular construction can help support the changes our society is demanding,” said Segura. “The joint approach will take modular construction to a new level in terms of quality, efficiency, design and sustainability.”
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