Construction technologies are lacking behind in terms of digitization and automation. Liechtenstein-based Hilti AG has now leaped forward with its construction site robot Jaibot.

Hilti AG has presented “Jaibot”, its first semi-autonomous, mobile construction site robot. It’s a robot used for ceiling drilling that should increase construction site’s productivity and improve worker’s safety. Jaibot is Hilti’s latest contribution to the digital construction site.

“He [Jaibot] is independently able to accurately align himself indoors, drill holes and then mark them for the various constructions. It is especially suitable for installation work in heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, and a completely wireless, easy-to-use system that requires no expert knowledge”, writes Hilti AG in a press release.

Robots for the digital construction site

Hilti AG is a Liechtenstein-based multinational company that develops, manufactures, and markets products for the construction, building maintenance, energy, and manufacturing industries, mainly to professional end-users. The company has recognized the importance of developing digital tools for construction works.

“The productivity of the construction industry has been lagging behind other sectors for years”, says Jahangir Doongaji, member of the Hilti Group Executive Board. “The pressure on margins and the already noticeable shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry are increasingly weighing on productivity. Digitization now offers us the opportunity to compensate for this – by intelligently linking processes, teams, and data. With Jaibot and in close cooperation with our customers, we are taking advantage of the efficiency that digital transformation can and will bring to the construction site.”

Tools like Jaibot are not just machines that do things faster and more accurately without getting tired, but they also increase interconnectivity. Jaibot transfers daily construction progress from the construction site via the cloud directly to the project office. That helps to speed up the construction process and makes it more transparent while maintaining the same quality of execution and reducing error rates.

Increased productivity also means that errors are identified at an early stage, which helps to keep construction projects on schedule and within budget. “Digitally planned construction projects and their implementation with the help of BIM-capable (Building Information Modelling) robot solutions promise a significant productivity gain”, Hilti writes.

Liechtenstein as a location for robotics developers

Robots also improve workplace safety and reduce the need for human labor, as they can autonomously execute repetitive work steps. That’s particularly important considering that there is a shortage of qualified labor on construction sites.

“We looked at which routine jobs on the construction site are among the most stressful, and these are primarily overhead jobs”, says Julia Zanona, Product Manager for Robotics at Hilti. “For us, it was essential from the very beginning to develop a robotic solution that gives our customers a hand where it is most needed. At the side of the installation team, Jaibot takes on the most tiring and exhausting tasks.”

So far, Liechtenstein has not been particularly renowned for robotics technologies. However, as the digital ecosystem in Liechtenstein and neighboring Switzerland is growing, robotics firms can leverage the proximity to digital businesses to move their technologies forward. The digital construction site, automated manufacturing, and other robotics applications all require a range of digital innovations such as IoT systems or 5G. Considering that more and more of these innovations come out of Liechtenstein and Switzerland, the region might also increasingly become a hub for robotics technologies.

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