The use of robotics in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry is very appealing, mainly because of the increase in productivity and quality that automation is expected to achieve.

In order to fully realise these benefits, though, the industry must first question which of our current processes should be automated and which should be re-thought. 

Many technologies, such as 6-axis industrial robotic arms, have not yet been fully explored, due to:

  • The complexity involved in construction processes
  • The requirement of specialist robotic programming skills
  • Technical and financial risks that limit the possible uses of robotic arm technology 

To address these issues and to connect robotic technology to Bryden Wood’s ‘Platform Approach’ to Design for Manufacture and Assembly (P-DfMA), our Creative Technologies team has developed F.R.A.C. – a Framework for Robotics and Automated Construction.

F.R.A.C. provides an open, extensible and collaborative platform that enables all designers – not only specialists – to engage with robotic technologies and to embed digital manufacture workflows into their everyday design activities. 

F.R.A.C. is an easy to use digital workflow that connects industry standard design software to robotic technology tools, using custom apps to provide:

  • XR environments for design and process interaction
  • A library of manufacturing blocks as defined elements of process (which we call CHIPs)
  • Real time data exchange between simulated systems across multiple devices
  • Data visualisations and analytics for manufacturing optimisation 

Our vision is to use F.R.A.C to develop our Platform Approach to designing homes, offices, hospitals, schools and other buildings in a new and innovative way, with a kit of parts approach delivered using robotic technology.

We have already prototyped the robotic manufacture of components from our Platform system and our aim is not only to realise construction projects through robotic technology, but also to share our learnings with the industry and to make the building blocks of F.R.A.C available under open source license during 2020.

Read more about P-DFMA here.