HP Unveils its Autonomous Construction Site Layout Printing Solution
HP announced the release of its autonomous, lightweight, and transportable robotic solution—the HP SitePrint—for printing construction site layouts.
Capable of innovating much more than just computers and printers, the international tech company HP announced the early release of its robotic construction solution, the HP SitePrint. The HP SitePrint is an autonomously operated solution that allows senior operators and construction site managers to print construction site layouts with varying lines and complex objects. HP said that the solution provides operators with greater accuracy concerning construction layouts, which can reduce costs incurred by unnecessary reworks.
The HP SitePrint saves time and money on construction site layout. Image used courtesy of HP
Construction Industry Growth
The coronavirus pandemic impacted many sectors of the global economy in 2020 and 2021, including the construction industry. According to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), the construction sector’s economy contracted by -12.7%. In the same article from the CIF, it was stated that the overall volume of production grew by 26.3 % in the second quarter of 2021. In a report from the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC), the organization’s Vice-President for Economic and Legal Affairs, Rüdiger Otto, stated that the total investment in the construction industry rose by 5.2% in 2021, and investment growth is expected to continue in 2022.
As the construction industry gets back on its feet, companies worldwide are continuing to invest in more innovative technologies to improve lead times, construction site planning, worker safety, and more. According to McKinsey and Company, the most pronounced clusters of use cases for construction tech include digital twin technology, AI and analytics, supply chain optimization and marketplaces, and 3D-printing, modularization, and robotics.
The construction industry is evolving with the introduction of smart technologies and increased automation. Image used courtesy of Canva
The continued development of advanced robotics and automation in construction can help construction workers and onsite managers monitor operations, pool data in the cloud to extract actionable insights, increase the speed of operations, reduce lead times, enhance safety, and improve productivity as well as the quality of projects.
HP SitePrint Robotic Solution
HP’s SitePrint provides users with a range of technological tools with which to fine-tune the construction site layout process. These include:
Cloud tools for filing and setting up print jobs, managing fleets, and tracking usage
A digital touch screen tablet from which to control and configure processes remotely
A selection of inks to accommodate different environmental conditions, levels of durability, and surface types
A hard-wearing, lightweight, autonomous, transportable, compact robotic device that can be fitted to all of the associated solution components
HP SitePrint testimonial from Skanska, a world leading company in construction. Video used courtesy of HP
The HP SitePrint also features obstacle avoidance whereby the robot can navigate itself away from potential hazards by taking in site information from sensors attached to its body. In addition to the ability to print lines and intricate objects, HP SitePrint can print text as well. This can help the digital model of a site come to life and help strengthen the communication between construction personnel on site.
In one project, the HP SitePrint was able to print all the walls of a 2400-square foot project in 45 minutes. This would otherwise have taken a layout technician seven hours to do the same work. With a faster layout process, layout technicians can save valuable time and redirect their attention to conducting more quality control activities.
Building Technical Partnerships
Positioning and navigation of the HP SitePrint are controlled through the Leica iCON iCR80 and Leica TS16 Robotic Total Stations (RTSs). In addition to working alongside Hexagon AB’s Leica Geosystems, HP is also in collaboration with Topcon to integrate the HP SitePrint solution with the former company’s GT RTSs and Layout Navigator.
The HP SitePrint solution was tested in 80 pilot projects in sites located across the globe with environments including hospitals, airports, parking, and residential areas. The Early Access Program allows HP customers in North America to access HP SitePrint from September of this year. The final iteration of the solution and wide-scale commercial launch is expected to go ahead in 2023.