How will production and construction develop in the next 20 years? Will a “magic button” appear in these industries, by clicking on which you can get a ready-made solution, be it a building or a unique product? These questions formed the basis of the recent Autodesk Future Forum. The event identified the main technology trends that will affect business in the world for the next 5-20 years. About them – in this article.
In construction, the so-called prefabrication is actively developing. It allows us to produce at the factory both practically finished premises (modules) and their elements, as well as typical building panels, which are then sent for assembly to the construction site.
In Russia, prefabrication is expected to become the standard in about the next 5 years. In particular, today it is being developed by the KNAUF company, which has built a plant in Krasnogorsk for the production of elements and modules. The launch is expected in the 3rd quarter of this year. Since the assembly of the building from the factory modules at the construction site is carried out in just a few hours, already this year the first residential buildings built on this principle will appear. The module projects were developed using information modeling technology (BIM), the widespread implementation of which in Russia was supported by the Ministry of Construction. For each module in AutodeskRevit software, a BIM-family is created – three-dimensional models of objects that make up the BIM-model of the project. The models include the necessary architectural, design and engineering solutions with a choice of equipment and options for interior and exterior decoration. In total, more than 90 types of modules have been developed that can be combined to create individual projects. We are confident in the company – modular construction will reduce the cost of design, materials and logistics by more than 30%. In addition, according to preliminary calculations, a square meter of modular housing with all communications and decoration will cost up to 40 thousand rubles, which is much cheaper than during construction using traditional methods.
Another option for the application of production technologies in construction is the creation of non-standard metal structures, for example, in the construction of load-bearing columns of skyscrapers, which are unique designs and take on high loads. Such projects, in particular, are carried out by the Chinese company CCEED (China Construction Eighth Engineering Division). At the factory, according to the 3D model, the columns are made on CNC machines. These massive metal structures are made up of individual parts. After manufacturing, a QR code is applied to each part to collect information about all parts in a BIM model and track their path from the factory to the installation site. To make sure that all structures are correctly connected to each other, they are scanned at the factory with a laser scanner and converted into current 3D models using Recap.
Construction is becoming intellectual. This is influenced by a number of factors: the active implementation of BIM at the construction stage (and not just design, as before), the use of sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles to collect information about the object, the emergence of artificial intelligence-based tools for analyzing big data in construction projects. For example, the BIM 360 Project IQ cloud service, using machine learning, is a knowledge base that collects about 20 million problems that were previously encountered in construction projects. Using this information, Project IQ allows you to analyze construction data, identify trends, patterns and typical solutions. The company, starting a new project, can turn to the database and see what problems were encountered in similar cases. Thus, she can optimize her work in advance.
Another example is Smartvid.io, a startup that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze photo and video information at a construction site. The technology integrated with Autodesk BIM 360 cloud services for construction can be used to increase security, control the quality of construction and increase the efficiency of processes. The platform and data can be accessed from any device – drones, GoPro cameras, mobile phones and tablets.
In industry, the growth of data and the development of the Internet of things has led to the emergence of smart factories, a new type of enterprise that involves the maximum digitalization of design and production processes and the minimization of human resources. The operation of such a factory can, among other things, reduce production and logistics costs by 10-20%, reduce equipment downtime by 30-50%, and increase productivity by 3-5%. An integral part of a smart factory is its digital twin, a virtual copy that completely repeats what is happening in a “real” enterprise. Such a double allows you to track all the data and processes, control and optimize them if necessary.
Autodesk recently opened such a smart factory in Birmingham, UK. It is equipped not only with the latest equipment, but also with Autodesk technologies for organizing smart manufacturing. All enterprise data is collected in the Autodesk Fusion Production system, which uses a common cloud environment with a single tool for collecting, combining and demonstrating data from various parts of production and CNC machines using the industrial Internet of things. This shared data space helps the team identify inefficient processes and offers solutions to improve performance. Thanks to analytics based on data from production and IoT, enterprise managers can use the data and display it in real time for each participant in the supply chain. Designers will be able to see the subsequent technological processes and improve the design in accordance with production capabilities. The ability to connect to data in real time also allows team members to find and correct errors if they occur, to receive more information about performance, which helps to improve quality indicators and reduce equipment downtime.
Another trend is the personalization of products. For the production of products with customized designs use, including 3D printing. With its help, you can create forms that are not available for production by traditional methods.
Popular brands, for example, manufacturers of sports shoes, gradually come to customization. For example, Under Armor used 3D printing and product customization for the UA Architech limited edition sneaker. The main feature was the sole, the lattice structure of which could only be produced using additive manufacturing. The sole fixes the position of the leg and adapts to the movement, thereby avoiding injuries. For its design, a generative design from Autodesk was used, which allowed using the key parameters – the maximum weight of the owner of the sneakers, the size of his legs, the preferred shape of the sole, as well as the number and intensity of loads – to create the most optimal option.
Generative design is a revolutionary technology that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to develop a product. In record time, he can create hundreds of thousands of designs and layouts based on criteria and restrictions (for example, weight, production method, materials) set by the engineer, while often offering options that a person cannot even imagine. The latter can only choose the desired option.
More recently, General Motors has announced plans for its implementation – it will use a combination of generative design and 3D printing to create auto parts. As an experiment, the company’s specialists created a seat mount. It turned out to be 40% lighter and 20% stronger.
Trend No. 5: Partner Robots
According to Autodesk forecasts, in the next 5-15 years, the issue of the interaction of robots and humans will be resolved so that it passes safely and productively.
Autodesk’s Ash Robot lives in San Francisco. Its difference from brothers is that it is not locked in a limited space, but interacts directly with people. This happens through a virtual reality system – Autodesk employees use VR glasses for this, which allow them to immerse themselves in its environment. In addition, Ash is equipped with computer vision, thanks to which he can see others, learn about the processes taking place around, and learn to perform what is expected of him.
Another example is the Bishop robot, which needed to be trained to shift some details. At a certain point, it became clear that his training can be carried out not in the real, but in the virtual world – it will be much more effective. In virtual space placed three-dimensional models of Lego bricks. In this space, Bishop performs many imitations of grasping movements and assembly in a short time. Thanks to machine learning, in just a few hours, Bishop masters any chaotic situation and can offer a suitable design. The most amazing thing is that, since the project used cloud technology, many other robots, in fact, immediately became the owners of this knowledge.