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Highly automatEd PHysical Achievements and PerformancES using cable roboTs Unique Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - HEPHAESTUS (Highly automatEd PHysical Achievements and PerformancES using cable roboTs Unique Systems)

Période du rapport: 2019-01-01 au 2020-12-31

HEPHAESTUS project introduces Robotics and Autonomous Systems use in the Construction Sector where at this moment the presence of this type of products is minor or almost non-existent. Specifically, the project focuses to give novel solutions to one of the most important segments of the construction sector which is the segment related to the facades and the works that need to be executed when this element of the building is built or needs maintenance.
HEPHAESTUS project proposes a new automatized way to install facades providing at the end a whole solution not only highly industrialized in production but also in installation and maintenance. These last two activities are done at this moment in a manual way using different types of cranes but without the benefits that can be provided by an automatic way of working. The proposal envisages a techno-economical assessment of the foreseen approaches and includes a business plan of the proposed demonstrator, a prototype of the cable-robot with all its components, a prototype of the curtain wall façade and a prototype of building to check how all the systems developed works in real conditions. All the elements allow the robotics companies of the project to include the developments of the project into a relevant industrial sector, such as construction, that allows a massive consumption of the solutions. Demonstration activities devoted to products manufacturing have addressed scalability and replicability of the proposed concepts to end up with TRL 7-8 where a system prototype has been demonstrated in operational environment.
HEPHAESTUS has been conceived as a solution for accomplishing multiple tasks on vertical or inclined planes of the built and outdoor environment. For that purpose, the HEPHAESTUS system is mainly based on a cable-driven robot. The system integrates several technologies that are already developed into a multiple job performer. Besides the cable-driven robot, there is a modular end-effector kit. This modular end-effector kit can host several tools. From one side, it can host task accomplishing tool, which can be different at each time where HEPHAESTUS is applied. On the other side, it also hosts all the accessory devices that are necessary for the sensing and controlling the system. It must be pointed out the Multi-functionality of the HEPHAESTUS system.
The HEPHAESTUS system is going to increase the safety conditions of the workers when a curtain wall is installed/cleaned/or under maintenance in high buildings avoiding the necessity to use climbers or platforms exposed to wind movements. Moreover, the system proposed wants to be used as a first example of using robotics to increase safety in the construction environment. Apart from this, it is estimated a reduction on installation times and an increase on the quality of the final installation (due to the automatization of the process).
HEPHAESTUS project aims at automating the On-site Execution or Installation process for empowering and strengthening the Construction Sector in Europe and for positioning the European Robotic Industry as leader and reference in the huge and new growing market for the robotics.
It is estimated that the price of the new system will be similar to the cranes (gondolas) used for cleaning and perform the maintenance of the buildings but with savings due to the automatization of these activities.
The technical approach done in the Hephaestus project can be divided in various levels:
•LEVEL 1: Specifications, requirements and conception of the cable robot
•LEVEL 2: Design of the different components of the cable-robot
•LEVEL 3: Demonstration
•LEVEL 4: Business strategies for future marketing and exploitation

Main results obtained:
•All activities related to the definition and implementation of the 4 levels have been accomplished.
•Detail design, manufacturing and installation and testing of the system have been done in two demo cases; one at laboratory level in Tecnalia facilities testing all the components and verifying that everything works as expected. The second one in a real building structure (build for the project) where all the activities at system level have been tested and where has been proved that the installation of facades using robotic systems can be done.
•Apart from this, all the control components and software to operate the robot have been implemented and tested in both scenarios.
•Risk assessment and definition of safety requirements has been accomplished based on the activities performed in real demos.
•Communication, exploitation and dissemination strategy have been defined during this reporting period.
The proposal brings relevant impacts at different levels:
•The project demonstrates the possibility to use robotics in construction performing complex activities.
- As proved by the results of the project, it is possible to use robots to install modular facades increasing the quality of construction, reducing the time needed and reducing the risks for workers.
•Increasing the market-readiness of robotics applications
- The main sector targeted by the proposed innovation project is the new non-residential construction market which represents an annual market volume of €200,000 million.
•Cost-benefit model and impact on the façade market cost structure
- The savings from the use of HEPHAESTUS are estimated at 20% of installation costs, which accounts for 5% of the total cost of the curtain wall. There is also an additional net saving, as the gondola for maintenance is no longer necessary. As a result, the total initial investment is reduced by 12.5%. Furthermore, after the construction of the building HEPHAESTUS will continue to deliver cost savings of 44% in annual maintenance and cleaning costs
•Lowering of market entry barriers of a business or regulatory nature and increasing industrial and commercial investment in Europe
- HEPHAESTUS proposes three main crossed working lines: Transparency of the overall process, strongly increase of the communication and interrelation of all the stakeholders and highlight the benefits of the innovative renovation process.
•Contributing to the faster growth of competitive small and mid-scale robotics companies in Europe
- The project will open a route for European SMEs for the entry into the curtain wall market due to the lacks in automation in the installation phase.
•Improving social impacts, including employment
- Creation of new direct high-level jobs, creation of direct jobs and reducing the risk of accidents
•Improving innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge at EU level
- The partners will integrate their knowledge and findings efficiently in the value chain to generate a much broader knowledge that can be shared with the industrial sectors involved
•Improving industrial competitiveness and growth of companies
- HEPHAESTUS project will increase the European Robotic Industry presence in the construction sector opening the possibilities to a new growing market for robotics. it will ease the introduction of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) in the Construction Sector.
•Contribution to achieve the objectives of EU policies.
- The project will contribute to maintaining and developing the technology leading edge in key areas such as robotics.
- The project fosters the adoption of new technologies, as robotic, by the construction sector, one of the challenges that were identified by the EC.
Hephaestus system - Lateral inclination
General view of the system in Acciona demo facilities
Hephaestus partners in the Acciona demo facilities
Detail of the Hephaestus system moving a curtain wall module
General view of Acciona demo building with the Hephaestus system