FIXED CONSTRUCTION AUTOMATION EXAMPLE BASIC INFORMATION


Fixed construction automation is useful in mass production or prefabrication of building components such as:

1. Reinforcing steel
2. Structural steel
3. Exterior building components (e.g., masonry, granite stone, precast concrete)

Automated Rebar Prefabrication System
The automated rebar prefabrication system places reinforcing bars for concrete slab construction. The system consists of a NEC PC98000XL high-resolution-mode personal computer that uses AutoCAD™ DBASE III Plus™, and BASIC™ software.

The information regarding number, spacing, grade and dimension, and bending shapes of rebars is found from the database generated from an AutoCAD file. This information is used by an automatic assembly system to fabricate the rebar units.

The assembly system consists of two vehicles and a steel rebar arrangement support base. Of the two vehicles, one moves in the longitudinal direction and the other in the transverse direction. The longitudinally moving vehicle carries the rebars forward until it reaches the preset position.

Then, it moves backward and places the rebars one by one at preset intervals on the support base. Upon completion of placement of the rebars by the longitudinally moving vehicle, the transversely moving vehicle places the rebars in a similar manner. The mesh unit formed by such a placement of rebars is tied together automatically [Miyatake and Kangari, 1993].

Automated Brick Masonry
The automated brick masonry system, is designed to spread mortar and place bricks for masonry wall construction. The system consists of:

1. Mortar-spreading module
2. Brick-laying station

The controls of the system are centered around three personal computers responsible for:

1. Collecting and storing date in real time
2. Interfacing a stepping-motor controller and a robot controller
3. Controlling the mortar-spreading robot

A Lord 15/50 force-torque sensor is used to determine the placing force of each brick. The system is provided with an integrated control structure that includes a conveyor for handling the masonry bricks [Bernold et al., 1992].

Fully Automated Masonry Plant
The fully automated masonry plant is designed to produce different brick types with the production capacity of 300 m2 wall elements per shift. The system consists of several components: a master computer, a database server, a file server, stone cutters, masonry robots, pallet rotation systems, refinement systems, storage systems, transversal platforms, a disposition management system, an inventory management system, and a CAD system.

Two individual brick types can be managed in parallel by unloading the gripper and the cutter-system consisting of two stone saws. By conveyer systems, stone units and fitting stones are transported to the masonry robot system.

The masonry robots move two bricks at each cycle to the growing wall after a mortar robot puts a layer of mortar on it. A pallet rotation system carries the wall to the drying chamber. After 48 hours, the wall is transported to destacking stations to group the wall elements of the same order. Finally, grouped wall elements are transported to the construction site [Hanser, 1999].

Automated Stone Cutting
The purpose of the automated stone-cutting facility is to precut stone elements for exterior wall facings. The facility consists of the following subsystems:

1. Raw materials storage
2. Loading
3. Primary workstation
4. Detail workstation
5. Inspection station
6. End-product inventory

A special lifting device has been provided for automated materials handling. The boom’s rigidity enables the computation of exact location and orientation of the hook. Designs for the pallets, the primary saw table, the vacuum lift assembly, and the detail workstation have also been proposed [Bernold et al., 1992].

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