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Dealing with Drones: How Unmanned Equipment is Changing Construction


Unmanned equipment is enhancing productivity

A robot may not steal your job. It might help you do it faster and easier, instead. Take drones, for instance. For only a few hundred dollars, they help a construction company fully monitor a building site.

We often think of robotic equipment as replacements, when in fact, they are enhancements. These devices can be powerful productivity tools that are capable of doing precise work. What’s more, yes – they usually are battery-powered.

Why construction companies are learning to love drones

One of the first things that must be done to any construction site is mapping it. This used to take a team of people days or even weeks. Today, a drone can do much of the job in minutes. It’s an enormous leap in both accuracy and efficiency.

Their inexpensive cost and versatility means drones can be regularly used to produce detailed documentation of progress. Mistakes can happen. A daily drone scan can reduce losses, such as those caused by idle rented equipment and misplaced construction materials.

Don’t expect the skies above construction sites to be buzzing with drones quite yet, though. The commercial use of drones requires FAA permission and licensing. The agency has granted more than 1,000 of these licenses, but plans are in place to introduce new regulations. Experts believe that there may be an easing of regulations for drones that fly below 400 feet and stay within visual line of sight.

Taking over the tedious jobs

Unmanned equipment like drones will likely see a huge increase in areas like building or large facility inspections. Why have the associated risk of a human climbing onto a roof to inspect it when a drone can do it?

The typical residential roof inspection company incurs about $300 in expenses for each job. It’s estimated that the cost of using a drone for the inspection would be about $10. Think of the cost savings to utility companies that can send drones out to inspect rural power poles, rather than an employee in a fuel-consuming company vehicle.

Drones aren’t the only unmanned equipment making big inroads in the construction industry. Our Sherpa remote-controlled compact mini loader works alongside construction crews. Its heavy-duty frame allows it to go where people should not—and yet, it’s compact enough to guide itself right through a standard doorway.

The battery-powered Sherpa 100EHD works either by remote control or it can be operated manually when safety is not a concern. The mini skid uses programmable logic controllers for smooth operation, and there’s no difference in capacity compared to a piece of construction equipment using a traditional power source like a diesel engine.

The biggest difference is that there’s no pollution from an internal combustion engine, so it can be used indoors – and it’s whisper-quiet.

Whether it’s a drone or a mini skid steer, emerging unmanned equipment shares a common set of benefits. They’re not replacing people. They are, however, making jobs safer. They’re battery-powered, so they’re better for the environment and for people to be around. And perhaps the biggest benefit is that they reduce and sometimes eliminate fuel costs—which usually take the biggest bite out of a company’s bottom line.

At Triple E, we’re passionate about keeping pace with an evolving construction industry. For more information on the benefits of battery-powered construction equipment, you can call us at (954)-978-3440 or reach us through our contact form.

December 27, 2017 By Alex Berg in Blog