For a long time, the single largest innovation in construction equipment was the diesel engine. Each new generation would refine the engine and simplify the controls, but that was it. Today, the digital age has caught up with construction, and these innovations are changing the landscape in new and interesting ways. Explore the following four awesome trends in construction equipment technology.
Automated Heavy Machinery
Cars aren’t the only vehicles getting self-driving features these days. While human drivers are still essential, increased automation allows heavy construction equipment to solely handle basic tasks, and it simplifies the process to the point where individuals with less training can safely handle construction equipment.
Automation is part of the reason why more companies are renting construction equipment such as telehandlers, scissor lifts, and forklifts. Rental availability is especially good news for small businesses that can handle the lower, short-term costs of renting equipment rather than buying something they don’t need over the long term or hiring an expensive contractor.
Industrial 3D Printing
Indeed, 3D printing is going far beyond the simple desktop hobby it has held for years. Militaries have been investing in 3D printing technology as a way to quickly repair and resupply troop equipment in the field, and in the process, military units have discovered ways to print on a larger scale and with more durable materials.
Wealthy estates in the Netherlands and China are already using 3D printing with a new type of concrete mix to construct whole buildings. If the technology develops further, it could make foundation pouring faster and cheaper than ever.
Augmented Reality Architecture
The days of 2D blueprints are fading quickly. By using a special headset or tablet app, architects can see and interact with their building designs in a fully three-dimensional way instead of on a piece of paper or an image projected on a screen. This capability gives them a better understanding of how a finished building will look, not to mention how all the wires and pipes will be positioned through the walls and between floors. Additionally, architects can make sure their vision matches up with reality long before expensive construction begins.
Construction demands much surveying both before and during the building process. You have to carefully measure the terrain and locate pipes and cables underneath, plus you need to measure the building as it rises so that you can be sure you aren’t making any mistakes.
A flying drone with a 3D scanner can do this measuring in a flash, saving construction crews valuable time and effort without having to look for one of a few qualified surveyors in an area.
Computer technology has advanced construction equipment and designs by massive leaps in only the past few years. With programs that automate machines, programs that make 3D designs come to life, and machines that make those designs a reality with a durable new material, the construction industry will never be the same.