It is not always practical to manufacture construction tools or components and then transfer these to a site to be used. The answer to this issue? A smart device controlled pop-up factory.
With air miles increasingly a concern, using planes, ships or lorries to move construction tools or components may not be a practical solution.
Being able to manufacture these onsite and with the ability to be controlled by a smartphone, the pop-up factory concept removes this transportation and allows construction to be completed in a more practical, connected and cost-effective approach.
It could even be moved if construction had to travel, for example if the project was that of a motorway road barrier.
‘Factory on the Fly’
This is what Danish company, Odico is preparing to launch. ‘Factory on the Fly’ is a mobile system that promises to make it possible for workers to instruct robots to manufacture building components onsite.
The miniature factory can fit in a standard three-metre-long shipping container, making it an easy unit to transport across the globe.
It can be controlled via standard iOS or Android tablets, making it user friendly and connected.
Factory on the Fly is currently a prototype, which Odico is working to have on sale in the first half of 2019.
Tasks the pop-up factory is equipped to carry out include formwork production, reinforcement bending and sheet cutting.
It can reportedly customise and manufacture building components on the ‘fly’, or realise more advanced concrete structures using production files created at Odico’s headquarters as part of its formwork services.
Automation is broadening
As more manufacturers and companies adopt automation in to their processes, the range of automated methods available is broadening.
Automated methods and robotics are being scaled to fit smaller manufacturers as well as larger businesses.
An example of this is Igus’s low cost pick and place Delta robot, which will reportedly enable companies who want to utilise 4IR and automation to be able to take that next step.
The Northampton-based company, whose expertise lies in the manufacture of energy chain systems and polymer plain bearings, has designed the robot to be lightweight and low cost.
Igus believe that the system has huge potential for the packaging industry, particularly for SMEs who wish to step into automation, but for cost reasons have not yet been able to.
As well as low cost robotics, reconditioned robots and mobile robots can also be implemented into businesses. These can offer value, higher productivity, and allow the workforce to upskill.