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Insulate Magazine - April Issue 17

A Free Lunch, The language of Insulation, Artificial Intelligence and Insulation, and in-depth review of Ecobuild 2018 feature amongst articles from the BBA, NIA, Kingspan, IMA, Sto and more feature in this months edition

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www.insulatenetwork.com Artifical Intelligence and the Insulation industry Jamie Street Lead Creative at Insulate Network What impact will Artificial Intelligence have on the Insulation Industry? From insulation products and manufacturing processes to installation and performance it’s exciting to speculate how Insulation will be affected by Artificial Intelligence. By Jamie Street Everyday Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence has always been a fascination for me and for many I’m sure. From Terminator and Robocop to i-Robot and Westworld, the prospect of a world populated by robots is common in Hollywood and all forms of visual entertainment. In the UK we have already had the pleasure of self-service checkouts for almost a decade. Amazon’s Go 1 has seen the first introduction of “no lines, no checkouts”, giving customers in the U.S unprecedented shopping freedom. In Dubai they have recently launched their first “robotic cop” to handle smaller workforce duties. Whilst In Japan and China we are already seeing the rapid replacement of humans on the factory production line, with the long term goal of replacing human labour altogether 3 . Whilst Artificial Intelligenceis often seen as the “future”, there is no denying the future is upon us. Vision for the Future A recent article from construction enquirer 4 discusses Balfour Beatty’s vision for construction sites in 2050. Balfour believe the majority of work will be done off-site, work will be completed by robotic cranes and diggers overseen by drones. Construction materials will be dynamic and capable of self-assembly, on-site humans would wear exoskeletons to improve performance whilst others would be deployed off-site to monitor drones and cameras from afar. Terms like “offsite”, “drones” and even “exoskeletons” are more than familiar in todays vocabulary, so this picture for 2050 is already materialising. Paul Forrester’s 5 “offsite” feature in issue 15 of insulate magazine and the signifiant presence of offsite at ecobuild this year is just the tip of the iceberg. 26

www.insulatenetwork.com Insulation Technology Furthermore, an announcement from Caterpiller provides some insight into the Artificial Intelligence we can expect to see on construction sites in the not too distant future. The article details Caterpillar’s recent investment into a brick-laying robot capable of laying 1,000 bricks an hour A Complex Concept So is Artificial Intelligence unavoidable and we should all fear for our jobs? Well there appears to be a bit of ironing out to be done when it comes to more intricate detailed tasks A recent article from TRIB live 7 highlights BMW’s requirement for human skills over AI for intricate and complex tasks at their largest factory. In the same article, Cisco Systems notes the complications Unsurpising Evolution It probably doesn’t seem a shock to many that Artificial Intelligence will be a dominant feature of the construction industry work force in years to come. Factories and building sites have used machines for years, off-site construction continues to grow in popularity and newer technologies such as BIM are now common phrases in the construction landscape. However, as with all industries it does raise questions over the role of humans and the investment required to adopt the new technologies. with extracting data from highly automated manufacturing processes. Issues of trust are also a significant factor. The issue of speed seems to be a stumbling block when it comes to more intricate tasks. The BBC 8 reported that burger flipping robot had to be taken offline because it was too slow. Despite these teething problems, it’s a matter of time before issues of speed, efficiency and even trust are overcome and robots of a common fixture. But What About Insulation? At this stage you are probably wondering, “But What about Insulation?”. Well here goes. As a key component within the construction process, the forecasts from Balfour Beatty will undoubtedly play a significant role. Robotic installation, self-assembly, off-site construction and more. We are already seeing leading manufacturers utilising virtual reality at exhibitions to showcase their products, which points towards a similar embrace when it comes to more advanced Artificial intelligence. www.insulatenetwork.com 27

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