Hilti introduces BIM-enabled construction robot

By Dominic Ellis
Construction automation solution to help MEP contractors tackle productivity, safety and labour challenges on jobsites...

Hilti, the multinational developer of tools, technology, software, and services to the commercial construction industry, has introduced its first robot for semi-autonomous mobile ceiling-drilling, making a further step towards the digitisation of construction sites.

The Hilti Jaibot construction robot will help mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) installation contractors tackle productivity, safety and labour shortage challenges. The construction automation solution executes its tasks based on Building Information Modelling (BIM) data.

"The productivity of the construction industry has been lagging behind other sectors for years. Margin pressure and shortages of skilled labour are already facts of life in our industry and make it increasingly difficult to overcome productivity shortfalls. But leveraging the opportunities offered by digitisation will compensate for it. We do this by intelligently linking processes, teams and data," said Jan Doongaji, member of the Executive Board, Hilti Group. 

"With Jaibot, and in close collaboration with our customers, we are further stepping toward realizing the efficiency that digital transformation can and will bring to construction sites."

Hilti explains that the robot is a completely cordless, easy-to-use system that doesn’t require expert skills to operate. 

“It locates itself accurately indoors, drills the holes dust-controlled and finally marks them according to the trade. This is what makes the solution ideally suited for the MEP trade,” the company elaborates further, adding that there is a paradigm shift underway in the construction industry. 

“Time and budget overruns are common in large construction projects, and significant productivity gains can be achieved with digitally planned construction projects, and their realisation with the help of robotic solutions. BIM-enabled robotic solutions also make the construction process more transparent with improved execution speed, consistent performance, and fewer errors.

“Daily progress can be reported from the field to the project office, via cloud computing. Potential conflicts between trades on a jobsite can be detected at an early stage, and then limited, resulting in more projects being delivered on-time and within budget.”

Furthermore, the company adds that safety of workers played an important role in the development of Jaibot as it has been designed to assist tradespeople in physically demanding, repetitive installation tasks, such as drilling numerous holes overhead for many mechanical, electrical or plumbing installations.

The robot can be navigated by a worker via remote control and uses reference data from a robotic total station – the Hilti PLT300. Holes within reach are drilled automatically, the company adds.

"We looked at which routine work on the construction site is among the most stressful, and that is primarily overhead work," said Julia Zanona, product manager for Robotics at Hilti. 

"From the beginning, it was important to us to develop a robotic solution that supports our customers where it is most needed. The Hilti Jaibot takes over the most strenuous and exhausting tasks, working alongside the installation team,” she concludes.

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