Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Purpose - The increasing of mechanization levels used in tasks execution in construction, as a way to increase productivity, requires its rationalization, the adoption of new assembly-ready materials and methods, and the application of robotics capabilities. In this way, using concepts as design for manufacture and assembly and lean construction, modular products can be developed for their assembly by robotics systems onsite. This paper aims to review developments. Design/methodology/approach - A brief review of a different approach to the practical introduction of robotics technologies in the modular building process is presented. Findings - A higher automation level is desirable in order to achieve the productivity levels of other industries. This discussion shows how concepts related to lean production are applied to the design of new materials and products with different levels of finishing that make modular assembly possible. Also a discussion of where and when the automation of assembly tasks is affordable is presented from a logistic point of view. Originality/value - An analysis of onsite and mobile manufacturing facilities is considered, based on the authors' experiences in two European Union projects focused on modular assembly applied to the building industry: FutureHome and ManuBuild. Re the first, the robotized assembly of the modular structural 3D elements shows how careful design of modules and automatic cranes permits unmanned precision assembly. Re the second, a small modular piping system (service core) is designed for proving the viability of an onsite mobile factory.