January 8, 08
Robots to Construct Korean High Rise Buildings by 2010

By 2010 it looks like robots will take over some of the work of building high-rise towers. This new building technology is expected to bring down the number of injuries at high-rise construction sites and also cut down on the time spent on building them. It may only be a matter of years before robots take over such death-defying work. So says the Korean Construction and Transportation Ministry, which announced that it now has the core technology for building high-rises without human workers.

The ministry says it is going ahead with the process of applying the technology to nuts-and-bolts building projects. It will create a construction process almost totally automated, taking advantage of 12 high-tech patents including so-called "intelligent" cranes and the world's first bolt-tightening robots.

Not surprisingly, the robot-led system is expected to cut labor costs by up to one-third and start-to-finish project time by around 15 percent. Add it all up and experts say it will boost overall productivity by an impressive 25 percent.

Consider the 69-story Tower Palace, a lavish residential complex in southern Seoul that took 33 months to complete. With the new technology's touch, it could have been finished five months sooner.

Industry insiders also expect this breakthrough to lower the number of accidents at job sites, address the labor shortage stemming from an aging society, and step up Korea's competitiveness in building super-sized structures.

From now through 2011 the construction ministry plans to inject $200 million to put these robotic builders to work."