Construction robots in Japan weld, bolt, and lift to tackle worker shortage

The Japan Times 

Robots that can weld, lift and bolt are being developed to help bridge labor shortages at domestic construction sites, though their use will be limited to night shifts when no human workers will be nearby due to safety and regulatory concerns. Major construction firm Shimizu Corp. showed off several robots Monday, including one already in use at construction sites that picked up a big pile of boards and took them into an elevator. The Robo-Welder and Robo-Buddy, with twisting and turning mechanical arms, will be deployed at construction sites later this year, the company said. Japan's construction sector is booming but contractors are struggling to fill labor shortages -- a problem playing out in other parts of the world, including the U.S. The robots demonstrated at a Shimizu test facility in Tokyo can reduce the number of workers needed for each of the tasks they carried out to about a third or a fourth of what's required today. But construction work is so varied, delicate and complex that the robots are able to handle just 1 percent of overall construction work, according to Masahiro Indo, Shimizu's managing executive officer, who oversees construction technology.

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