HP targets construction sites with autonomous floorplan-printing robots
HP has put forward a small robot it says can dramatically speed up construction work, by autonomously printing guidelines straight from the blueprints onto the floor. Rugged, roadworthy and extremely accurate, Siteprint is a super-quick layout tool.
The robot replaces the time-consuming manual process of site layout, using a variety of different inks to place precise lines, exact curves and faithful reproductions of complex shapes on all kinds of floors, from porous surfaces like concrete and plywood to terrazzo, vinyl or epoxy.
It doesn't require a perfectly smooth or clean floor – indeed, it can handle a certain degree of surface irregularity and obstacles up to 2 cm (0.8 in) high. It runs built-in obstacle and cliff drop sensors for fully autonomous operation, and will work around barriers even if they're not in the plans.
As well as layout lines, it's capable of printing more or less whatever else you need on the floor too, including text notes. Operators set it up using cloud-based tools for job preparation, fleet management and tracking, and can run it on site with a touch-screen tablet and a tripod-mounted "totalstation."
“The existing manual layout process can be slow and labor intensive,” said Albert Zulps, Director of Emerging Technology at Skanska - a global construction and development company currently using the SitePrint system for two of its US projects. "Despite being done by specialists, there is always the risk of human error, which can result in costly reworks. Layout experts are a scarce resource who add a lot of value in terms of planning and strategy, but often end up dedicating most of their time to manual execution. HP SitePrint lets us do more with less, helping reduce schedules thanks to a much faster layout process, and allowing senior operators to focus on other critical activities like quality control.”
While HP hasn't announced pricing, we assume the printer robot itself will be surprisingly cheap, but the ink's gonna be a killer. Yuk yuk.
Check out Siteprint in the video below.