5 innovative technologies changing the construction sector in 2015
When equipped with the right technolog...
Technology is helping to improve a number of different industries and the construction industry is no exception.
When equipped with the right technology, construction companies across the globe are able to work safely and more efficiently.
With better-built technology in mind, here are a number of tech gadgets and apps that are changing the construction landscape for the better:
Wearable Smart Sensors
Wearable technology is having a positive effect on the world of construction, especially in terms of jobsite safety.
A growing number of construction companies are now putting smart sensors in their workers' boots, wristwatches, hard hats, and other safety gear such as rooftop harnesses.
These wearable sensors are helping foreman better track the condition of workers on the jobsite. Hard hat sensors can alert foreman if an impact takes place and wristwatch sensors can monitor body temperatures and ensure workers aren't suffering from heat exhaustion.
Likewise, boot sensors can monitor how long workers have been on their feet and track the amount of time between breaks.
Harness sensors can monitor the number of workers on a structure and alert foreman if a sudden drop in height takes place.
Not only do misplaced power tools and hand tools cost construction companies millions each year, they can also become dangerous walking hazards if left in the wrong place.
As the following article looks at, along with the 5 high-tech gadgets to make construction easier are tool barcode readers.
Construction companies are outfitting their machinery, hand tools, and power tools with barcodes.
By scanning these barcodes with digital barcode readers at the beginning and end of each workday, construction companies are better able to track their equipment.
When it comes to surveying potential construction sites and monitoring active sites, drone technology is literally changing the construction landscape. Construction companies are hiring drone pilots to survey construction sites in both heavily congested and remote locations.
Additionally, construction site foreman are using drones to actively monitor their sites.
This makes it possible to not only monitor workers, but also quickly survey the progress of certain areas on the jobsite.
Tablets and Wi-Fi
Instead of carrying around rolls of blueprints and other jobsite paperwork, contractors and foreman are relying on the portability and versatility of tablets.
Tablets can store massive amounts of data that's accessible with the swipe of a finger.
Taking mobile technology a step further, construction companies are also equipping their jobsites with Wi-Fi connectivity.
Tablets in combination with Wi-Fi allow construction site foreman to upload and share documents as well as make edits in real time.
Construction apps allow foreman and contractors to get the most out of their gadgets. There are a number of construction-focused apps on the market, including CAD apps that make it possible to make blueprint changes in the moment.
There are also calculating apps that help construction managers better calculate supplies, including concrete volumes, roofing materials, and hardware amounts. These apps also help construction companies calculate estimates for future jobs.
From drones to sensors and every gadget in between, it's plain to see why construction sites across the world are focusing on technology.
Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including the construction industry and technology.
Why are steel prices on the rise?
Steel is an essential material for all businesses in the construction industry. From cars to buildings and everything in between, it is a valuable resource but, as recently discovered, it is also becoming more expensive, especially in the United States. But why is this?
COVID-19 is the biggest cause of the rise in steel prices. The pandemic, in turn, has disrupted supply chains meaning steel as a material could not be shipped to construction sites, and that resulted in a higher price. However, once the height of the several lockdowns subsided, the price of steel remained high, even though those in the US steel industry expected it to drop.
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (ASI), the US steel capacity utilisation rate has “remained at or above pre-pandemic levels of 80pc” for the last three weeks. This suggests that there is more steel available for buyers in a previously supply-constrained market.
During this time, the US Midwest hot-rolled coil (HRC) assessment by Argus Media increased by 2pc, or US$33.75/short ton (st). According to Argus, this is similar to a typical pre-pandemic price increase, which was US$40/st when announced by steelmakers. This price hike, which has seen steel costs quadruple since August 2020, continues onwards, leaving many people in the industry wondering what will happen in the future.
However, according to Argus Media, the Indiana-based electric arc furnace (EAF) minimill steelmaker Steel Dynamics (SDI) expects “post record profits” in the second quarter and that continued demand and "historically low flat roll steel inventories" will lead to even stronger third-quarter results.
Currently, though, the high steel prices mean that very few construction companies are looking to restock their supply of the material, meaning a delay to certain projects.
The automotive industry
One industry that’s been negatively impacted in particular is the automotive sector. Carmakers in North America have been dealing with disruption to their semiconductor production line for almost half a year, resulting in volumes at some steel processors being significantly reduced. In finding a solution, some car manufacturers, such as Ford, have looked at the idea of idled auto production online, although this is still in the early stages of development.
According to Cox Automotive,1.78mn new vehicles were manufactured in coming into June which is only a 35-day supply, and one of the lowest levels of production in history. By comparison, new car inventory was at 2.24mn at the end of April 2021.
This could mean automakers’ demand for steel reduces if the price remains, further constricting the spot steel market. It is clear that the rising price of steel is having a substantial impact on the industries that rely on it.
Fossil-free steel rolling
Partnering with Ovako, Volvo, Hitachi ABB, and H2 Green Steel, Nel ASA has today announced that it is planning a fossil-free hydrogen facility for steel rolling and milling operations in Hofors, Sweden.
The conversion to green hydrogen in the production process aims to reduce CO2 emissions from the facility by 50% from current levels with possibilities for future development of hydrogen infrastructure for transportation, the company said.
The initiative will focus on developing a fossil-free steel production facility, with the intention of taking the first step towards creating a future hydrogen infrastructure for the transport sector. The investment of approximately SEK180mn is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency via the Industriklivet initiative and will create significant benefits for the wider society from multiple perspectives.
Jon André Løkke, Chief Executive Officer of Nel ASA, said: “"We will work collaboratively together to make this project a success, based on the joint learnings we will standardize the overall solution and ensure that this can be replicated in different locations all across Europe”.