The construction robot market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 13.56% during the forecast period from 2021 to 2026. The increasing focus of the construction organizations in reducing the resource and material waste of the building materials during construction has driven the adoption of the construction robots' market. Construction is one of the sectors where a significant amount of material is wasted due to the traditional construction process. Autodesk identifies that while it is difficult to get exact figures of the waste produced on a typical construction site, several construction organizations have thought that nearly 30% of the total weight of building materials transported to a building site is wasted.
- The US Green Building Council stated that building construction alone constitutes a total waste of 30% in the United States. The European Commission anticipates it at 25-30% of material waste in the European Union, and global estimates hover in the range of 25-40%. Building construction utilizes 40% of universal energy and 40% of the world's raw materials. The drive to reduce this wastage has shifted the focus towards the adoption of the construction robots, especially in non-residential construction. The scale of material waste within the current construction procedures alone is a significant issue worth addressing. Further, population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and India indicates that a substantial percentage of near-future building projects would demand to be constructed in resource-scarce areas where supply chains are underdeveloped or nonexistent.
- The construction industry in India is expected to be driven by the increasing need for residential buildings in urban areas of the country such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. For instance, According to Knight Frank, the number of residential property sales in the first half of 2018 in Mumbai and Bengaluru was 32, 412, and 25,802. Moreover, with the upcoming projects of smart cities in the Asia-pacific and Latin American regions, the construction activities in these regions are anticipated to increase. The significant factors affecting the adoption of robots in the construction industry are enhanced productivity, quality, worker safety, and growing urbanization globally. Additionally, the deployment of robotics in the construction industry eliminates/mitigates the risks of human errors and conflicts, etc.
- The principal advantage of employing construction robots is to save time and improve precision and efficiency, thereby commencing more significant economic benefits. For instance, Hadrian X is a bricklaying automated machine, which is capable of building walls of a house by calculating the necessary materials required and movements without any supervision. An Australian based firm developed it by incorporating an intelligent control system. The robot can lay bricks at a speed of 1,000 per hour with 100 % accuracy. It can detect changes caused due to external factors such as wind and vibrations and create the design accordingly. With such features being offered by the robots, several construction organizations are deploying construction robots. Though they require high investments initially, their usage would save extra costs in the long run.
- Furthermore, according to a new forecast from the American Institute of Architect, construction spending grew through 2019. The market is also witnessing investments for the deployment of the construction robots. For instance, Scaled Robotics, a small Barcelona-based construction startup, announced that it raised a EUR 2 million stake, led by European firms such as Norwegian Construct Venture and PropTech Fund Surplus. Furthermore, the market for construction robots is anticipated to benefit from the increase in construction activities. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have some dampening effect on the market over the forecast period, more prominently over the later period as economies might experience a slowdown. Construction robots demand, however, might increase due to safety needs, such as social distancing.
Key Market Trends
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Demolition Type is Expected to Hold Significant Share
- Demolishing is an integral process in the construction industry as it is an essential process in the renovation activities and new commercial buildings. Demolishing is time-consuming, potentially hazardous work, regardless of job site conditions. Also, selectively demolishing concrete elements within an existing structure majorly for renovation purposes, while using heavy equipment is a challenging job for the construction companies. According to the Robotic Industries Association, demolition robots occupy approximately 90% of the total market share for construction robots.
- Since demolition is one of the most hazardous tasks of the construction industry, manual workers are prone to various fatal accidents and damages. Implementing robotics for demolition function increases the safety and efficiency of the workers, hence increasing the cost savings for the construction companies. Further, according to Ekso, the US spends USD 21 billion per year on workplace-related injuries that drain productivity. Construction workers are almost five times more likely to report poor health, and 20% of construction workers report severe pain. This significantly caters to the high demand for Demolition Robots during the forecasted period.
- In October 2019, Waste Robotics, based in Quebec, has announced a partnership with Torxx Kinetic Pulverizer for deploying their equipment to a materials processor in the Atlanta area. Waste Robotics will supply three WR-2 C&D sorting robots to sort construction and demolition waste and several types of green waste at the facility. The robots will able to recognize hundreds of different materials, including organics, plastics, papers, woods, bricks, concrete, and metals. They can precisely determine the quality of the wood and the differences between aggregates and plastics. Besides, Torxx will supply a kinetic pulverizer to the customer.
- In November 2019, Brokk finalized a deal with Brock Rentals Inc. to upgrade the rental company's fleet of remote-controlled demolition units with 12 next-generation models, including Brokk 110s, 170s, 200s, and 300s. With the new models, Brock Rentals' fleet now features more than 50 Brokk remote-controlled machines from the compact Brokk 60 to the heavy-duty Brokk 400. The intelligent electrical system, SmartPower, protects the machine from the damage that can be caused by inadequate power supplies while optimizing power and hydraulic performance in extreme temperatures.
North America is Expected to Hold Major Share
- While manual labor has been a huge and very critical component of modern construction, technology has been continuously improving since the first pulleys and power tools. Robots are the beginning to help get the work done. With low US unemployment and shortages of skilled labor, automation is key to meeting demand and continued economic growth. However, According to PIAAC data, it is calculated that 38% of jobs in the United States are at significant risk of being automated during the next decade. According to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America, 70% of contractors in the US struggle to hire skilled craft workers. This comes as hiring needs in the industry are expected to grow 12% by 2026 with the demand of construction robots.
- Further, players are launching innovative robots and various partnerships among players catering to the growth in the region. For instance, in June 2020, Boston Dynamics announced the debut of sales for Spot, which is the agile robot that climbs stairs and also traverses rough terrain and is intended for commercial and industrial usage. It is currently only available for purchase in the United States, with a price of USD 74,500. In February 2020, Trimble, Hilti, and Boston Dynamics announced a collaboration for exploring the integration of both Trimble's and Hilti's construction management software solutions, known as GNSS technology and reality capture devices with the Boston Dynamics' Spot robot platform.
- The companies aim to collaborate to develop a "proof-of-concept" solution. Equipped with Trimble's and Hilti's reality capture devices as their payload and directly communicating with a cloud-based construction management application, the Boston Dynamics Spot Robot will be able to provide consistent output and deliver improved efficiency on repeatable tasks and enable up-to-date as-built data analysis. Further to cater to the issue of labor shortage, in September 2019, Built Robotics announced a USD 33 million Series B round. The aim is to allow one equipment operator to oversee a fleet of vehicles working autonomously in parallel, hopping in the cab only for tasks the machine can't handle.
- In September 2019, San Francisco-based Built Robotics announced the close of a USD 33 million Series B led by Next47, the venture fund backed by Siemens. Built Robotics has announced over USD 100 million in customer commitments for its construction solutions. Built Robotics will use the capital to improve its fleet of autonomous robots, expand into new construction areas, and develop tools to support the next generation of equipment operators. Built's technology transforms construction equipment, including excavators, bulldozers, and skid steers, into fully autonomous robots. Built's current fleet of robots has excavated 100,000 tons of material on projects such as wind farms, housing developments, and utility solar installations.
The competitive landscape of the construction robot market is moderately concentrated due to the presence of a few vendors. The construction industry is one of the least automated sectors, and the robot's adoption rate is at a very nascent stage. Hence, the market players are looking for lucrative opportunities to launch its products and gain the maximum market share. Also, the vendors are looking for opportunities to raise investments from various stakeholders to enhance their production of robots for the construction industry.
- June 2020 - GE Renewable Energy, LafargeHolcim, and Cobod have announced to develop printed pedestals that support 200 meters tall turbine columns. In the future, they aim to produce a wind turbine prototype with a printed foundation and a specific type of printer and materials. Making turbines taller would make them capture stronger winds, thereby generating more renewable energy per turbine.
- February 2020 -The world's largest 3D printed building has officially been completed in Dubai. The two-story 6,900 square-foot structure will be used as an office for typical administrative functions by the Dubai Municipality. The facility was designed in collaboration with Apis Cor, a 3D printing, and construction company in Boston.
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