Skanska is planning to introduce robotic technology for the next phase of construction of the Battersea Power Station development.
Having received a £700,000 grant from Innovate UK last summer to develop the robots, the contractor’s head of innovation, Sam Stacey, says that the technology will be ready to use on the project in the space of nine months.
Mr Stacey reaffirmed that Skanska is the preferred bidder for the second phase of the Battersea Power Station project and if appointed their advanced robot techniques will be ready to be used on the work for the scheme.
He estimates that ‘utility cupboards’, which house M&E components for individual apartments, would be delivered 20 times quicker if they were to use robots rather than in-situ methods, adding that the company’s flying factories base in Slough had reduced cupboard construction times by 65%.
In the first phase of the Battersea scheme, Skanska built 300 cupboards in situ because of constraints on the site, while 440 were built off site, which allowed them to compare the two construction methods.
The cupboards manufactures offsite took 18 man hours to construct compared with 42 hours for the ones built on site.
Furthermore, Stacey revealed that they were almost 50% cheaper including factory overheads and had 73% less defects.
However, by using robots in factories, the company believes it can cut the amount of man hours that are required to build the cupboards to just two hours.
Skanska is also looking for ways robotic technology can be used in other areas, which may soon start to appear on construction sites in the UK, while in Norway the company is working with high tech start up nLink (a mobile drilling robot firm) to develop robots that can be used to fix and drill soffits.
Furthermore, the firm has been working in conjunction with ABB for the development of a robot that can set out rebar cages in Sweden.