Robotic Demolition: Enhancing Safety and Efficiency in Demolition Projects

January 17, 2024

In a dangerous and labor-intensive industry such as construction, few tools are as useful as demolition robots. These robots can safely go where a human work crew cannot, squeezing through tight spaces and demolishing concrete. The result is precise demolition and removal – all while an operator stands at a safe distance. 

But how does a demolition robot work? How can it help with making concrete demolition easier? 

Here’s why the future of demolition involves these remote-controlled robots.  

Robotic Demolition: What It Is and Why It Is Useful

Robotic demolition is one of the more recent advances in the construction industry. Robotic demolition equipment refers to a remote-controlled robot that is designed for demolishing concrete, especially in places where space is limited, or where it would be dangerous to use a human work crew. Sometimes a demolition robot is all you need to get a job done. In other cases, it may be combined with other demolition or cutting tools.

As an example, consider a project where a concrete slab needs to be removed. The concrete that is to be demolished may need to have perimeter cuts. These perimeter cuts avoid transferring vibration from the demolition to other, non-target areas and structures. Once these cuts are completed with a saw, a demolition robot, operated by a single technician, can finish the job. 

For demolishing larger vertical structures, many robots have extended reach. Instead of building scaffolding (which can be an additional safety risk), work crews are free to work elsewhere, allowing the demolition project to be completed faster. These robots are small enough to climb stairs but powerful enough for quick concrete removal.

The Benefits of Robotic Demolition

Using a demolition robot minimizes the need for other equipment. Some of this equipment, such as handheld machinery, can cause serious injury to the operator. Even if operated correctly, this equipment can cause health issues due to repeated vibrations. Workers exposed to frequent vibration may have an increased risk of musculoskeletal pain in the hips, back, shoulders, neck, and hands. Some data suggest that occupational exposure to vibration may even increase the risk of certain types of cancer. 

This vibration doesn’t have to come from the equipment itself. Workers can be exposed to repeated vibration via a platform or surface they are standing on. Regardless of the source of vibration, repeated exposure can lead to long-term health effects for workers. 

Robotic demolition can also lead to requiring less equipment. Demolition robots can do more than break concrete. With attachments such as buckets, rock drills, shears, plungers, and crushers, their functionality can be extended. On a crowded job site, this means less equipment needs to be onsite, preserving the already limited workspace.

Remote-controlled demolition robots are powerful, durable, versatile, safe, environmentally friendly, and easy to operate. 

The Brokk Demolition System

At Aggregate Technologies, we make use of the Brokk demolition system for our robotic demolition needs. 

The Brokk system is agile and maneuverable, allowing it to work in confined spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible to traditional machinery. An exhaust-free operation means there are no toxic fumes or air pollution. Its remote control operation means the operator is never in danger while operating the machine. Instead of putting themselves in harm’s way, they can maneuver the Brokk into place and operate it remotely. 

The Brokk is capable of more than demolition. It can be outfitted with digging buckets, shears, concrete cutters, and other tools. These attachments extend its use case far beyond simple demolition.

For one of our projects, demolition at Baptist Temple Church in Houston, the Brokk allowed us to safely demolish part of the structure. As part of the congregation’s effort to add ADA compliance to their building, their church required renovation. That would require the removal of four structural concrete slabs. These slabs began at the ground level but were also on the building’s 2nd and 2nd ½ floors. 

Despite the challenge, we were able to use the Brokk robotic hammer to complete this demolition. First, the robot was moved up the staircase. Then our operator used it to punch a hole in the center of the second floor. This hole was large enough to allow access to a slab saw, which was lifted to the second floor. Then the slab saw was used for a relief cut around the perimeter of the work area, ensuring the demolition would result in a smooth edge. 

This is just one example of how robotic demolition can be used to access small spaces, aid in complex projects, and work together with other concrete-cutting tools to get the job done.

The Brokk demolition system proves that Aggregate Technologies is committed to completing projects safely and effectively while embracing new, exciting technology. 

The Future of Demolition

The future of demolition includes robotic demolition. However, other tools such as wire saws, concrete crushers, pavement breakers, and more will remain in use, depending on the complexity of the cut and the restrictions of the job site. 

A knowledgeable concrete cutter such as ATI will know exactly what equipment is needed to get the job done right. When you partner with us, you partner with a contractor with over 25 years of industry experience, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and has a proven track record of working on large projects throughout the entire USA.

Other demolition companies may be generalists, but we like to think of ourselves as Concrete Surgeons. We’re specialists in cutting and removing concrete. That may mean using robotic demolition, wall sawing core drilling, pile cutting, or HydroDemolition. We understand that every project and work site is different. That’s why we take the time to understand your specific needs, so we can safely and effectively complete your concrete cutting and demolition needs. 

Ready to have a conversation about concrete cutting or demolition needs? Looking for a quote on your upcoming venture? Get in touch with Aggregate Technologies and let us know how we can be of help.

Contact us when you need a contractor with a record of safety and success for your concrete cutting and hydrodemolition needs.

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