Home automation on a new level
We have all become accustomed to automation in its many guises across our everyday lives, from manufacturing the cars that we drive, the mobile devices we use and the medical devices that help us to stay healthy.
We are even used to having automation around the home, but now with Güdel’s innovative gantry robot concepts, we can have robots and automation actually building our homes! This revolutionary concept could play a key role in addressing the UK’s housing crisis by reducing the time it takes to build new homes on site.
The UK’s housing crisis is never far from the news, and despite a number of ongoing initiatives from Government in recent times, the number of homes actually being built still falls woefully short of our needs.
The government manifesto of 2015 promised one million new homes by 2020, however between April 2015 and the end of March 2017, a total of just 287,600 homes were built, so to reach a million homes by 2020, there will need to be a considerable increase in the coming years to achieve this target.
Once the decision is taken to start building however, the speed and progress of the build will be influenced by a number of factors including the availability of skilled labour post-Brexit and the unpredictable British weather.
Güdel’s WoodFlex system is able to address these issues by automatically pre-fabricating many of the timber frames and wall panels required for new build properties, indoors and off site. This can reduce build times and the need for skilled labour in the process.
The solution, which is based on a 6-axis gantry robot from Güdel, is a highly flexible handling and cutting system for pre-fabricating house walls, floors or roofs.
The architect or builder produces the design, the connection points and the apertures for windows, doors and electrical equipment in the CAD system.
This then sends the production data directly to the Güdel 6-axis robot. In this way the system can either produce high volume quantities of a particular set of components, as might be the case for smaller affordable housing units, or one-off components for a bespoke design.
All of the handling, cutting, drilling and assembly operations are undertaken fully automatically by the robot system using a suite of interchangeable tools including grippers, saws, drills, routers, nail guns and measurement sensors.
The open concept of the system, which is over 50 metres in length, offers a highly-flexible solution for the accurate and cost-effective manufacture of a wide range of timber structures.
Given that we clearly need mass production of new houses across the country, the adoption of automated manufacturing, as demonstrated by this innovative concept, can surely help the UK building industry to build the new homes that are so urgently needed.