Robotic tiling demonstrator (2014)
In the next five years, more than 280,000 new residential units will be built in Singapore, yet there is a tight supply of skilled workers to carry out labour-intensive tiling work. Researchers from Future Cities Laboratory (FCL), together with industry partner ROB Technologies, have developed a prototype of a robotic tiling machine for automated floor tiling.
The robotic tiling machine can lay tiles two to three times faster than a human worker while maintaining high precision and consistent quality. Prof Fabio Gramazio, who leads the Architecture and Design Fabrication research module at FCL, explained that the robotic tiling machine can help to achieve a four-fold increase in tiling productivity as robots can work 24/7. It can also reduce the demand for manual labour and lower the risk of worksite accidents. Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan shared in a blog post that the robot has great potential for implementation in Singapore as over 40 million tiles are laid in new construction projects each year.
In addition to new construction projects, the robotic tiling machine can also be used in renovation projects. The researchers are now working with contractors and property developers to test the robotic tiling machine and incorporate user feedback to enhance its features.
The robotic tiling machine is developed by researchers from Future Cities Laboratory, a research programme on urban sustainability at the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC). SEC was established in 2010 by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and is funded by NRF under the Campus for Research Excellence and Technology Enterprise (CREATE) Programme.
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