It seems as though everyday companies are releasing new products and technologies that are designed to make out everyday lives a little bit better. You see these improvements at home, in your cars, out in public, as well as at work. The construction industry is no exception to this change. In fact, construction could be at the forefront of the next big step in technology. After all, the construction market is growing bigger everyday, what better place to implement ways to make it faster, easier, and safer.
More and more we are hearing both positive and negative news about current and upcoming technology. One particular piece of technology everyone seems to be paying attention to are drones and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). As drone technology advances we are starting to see more uses for them in positive ways. They can be a cost effective way to survey construction sites, assess damages to cell towers, and engineers are even looking for ways to give these remote controlled aircrafts a roll in the actual construction process itself. This could allow us to avoid putting workers in dangerous situations.
Another tech that is rapidly growing is 3D printing. It was only within the last 5 or so years that these printers have become available to the average consumer, now they are used to create packaging for major companies, phone cases, furniture, jewelry, as well as prosthetics for the health industry. The basic idea behind this technology is a machine that has the ability to lay out individual layers of a material, usually plastic or metal, until an entire object is created. The construction industry has taken this to the next level. Around the world we are seeing a number of large-scale 3D printers with the capability to build concrete houses, apartment complexes, and bridges. Most appear to print out large portions of the structures that would need to be assembled on location.
Not all advancements in technology are as game changing or revolutionary as drones or 3D printers. For every huge advancement in the market place we see hundreds of smaller and subtler ones. Some of which you might not even realize play a roll in your life. An example of this is the new computer systems that are being installed in a lot of new construction trucks. These systems help manage the engines performance, which allows less gas consumption, monitors payload weight and placement, and also analyzes the road conditions, keeping the driver, the haul, and all surrounding workers safe.
We see these subtle changes in the tools and materials we use everyday. The batteries on our cordless drills and saws are getting lighter and lasting longer, paper based floor protection products such as Builder Board and Water Shield have the ability to repel liquids, saving both money and time, work clothes are becoming lighter, more durable, and address more of the needs of our workers. One of the biggest safety features is the skin sensing saw blade. Essentially it’s a table saw that retracts its blade within a millisecond of skin being in contact with it, saving limbs and lives. You might not even realize your table saw has this feature, and the best way to find out is to read the manual, and NOT to “give it a try”.
Whether we like it or not, it looks like technology is going to change the way we work. Hopefully it’s all for the better.