6 months ago

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 Insulation Technology Insulation Products and Artificial Intelligence Will the capabilities of Artificially Intelligent life forms be so advanced that they are able to identify insulation products that offer better performance in specific environments and locations? Perform scientific calculations that allow for the development of insulation solutions that haven’t previously been considered? Or the lower risk to human error by making it possible to use materials that were previously overlooked? It’s exciting to consider how insulation products will evolve as a consequence of Artificial Intelligence. In the short-term Insulation products will undoubtedly be thinner, lighter and better performing than ever before. A big question to ask is whether insulation materials and products will be a standalone product category at all? Is Structural Insulation Panels (SIPS) a sign of things to come as insulation becomes integral to other elements of construction? Will construction materials become like the modern mobile phone, becoming “smart” materials that integrate thermal and acoustic benefits into one single high performance kitchen top? Insulation Manufacturing The visions for on-site construction will be ten-fold when it comes to Artificial Intelligence’s impact on insulation manufacturing. Insulation factories will be populated with even more robotic machines than they are today, monitored by drones and watched over by human inspection. Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly reduce the margin of error, improve efficiency and increase output when it comes to Insulation manufacturing process. The potential for enhanced output of insulation products as a result of Artificial Intelligence will be most apparent with 24 hour, 365 day operation becoming normality. No staff breaks, no holidays, no errors, less health and safety implications. The cost of AI will be significant, but the yield benefits appear to justify its early adoption. Insulation Distribution With Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV) predicted to move from one location to another without a human driver becoming more of a reality, it’s fascinating to consider how insulation distribution will be affected. If much of the construction is completed off-site will the days of insulation panels and boards being shipped from factory to construction site be a thing of the past? Advances are likely to have positive implications in the reduction of energy consumption and carbon foot print, but more importantly what role will insulation distributors play in the future? With construction taking place off-site will their services be as essential as they are today and how will their role need to change to accommodate such changes in the industry? Insulation Installation The degree of accuracy and speed achievable by future robots suggests humans will have a limited role in insulation installlation. Insulation materials will likely be installed off-site and any on-site installation will be conducted by robots, significantly reducing build times and human error. The influence on installation will be effected by the form insulation products will take in years to come. Will insulation products be primarily sprayed to exact depths, without any significant human involvment? 28 The implications of Artificial Intelligence on the Insulation industry as with all industry’s will undoubtedly be significant, effecting every process along the path towards a buildings completion That answer would appear to be yes, at least for some applications. As featured in the Decemeber issue of Insulate Magazine, the Q-Bot 9 robot delivers sprayfoam underfloors to precise depths, whilst saving money and time. It can’t be long until Insulation panels and rolls can be installed at unimaginable speeds and incredible accuracy. AI may even help overcome the cocerns over human error frequently associated with insulation installation. It’s realistic to envisage that AI developments will speed up build times in all areas of construction, with projects being completed in weeks if not days. 24 hour operation is a possibility with modern methods potentially reducing the noise, disturbances and delays caused by all stages of construction. These factors would be also be vastly reduced if the majority of the work is completed offsite. It’s overwhelming to consider how rapidly existing landscapes and skylines will develop in short periods of time. Space for Debate The implications of Artificial Intelligence on the Insulation industry as with all industry’s will undoubtedly be significant, effecting every process along the path to a buildings completion. I have only scratched the surface of its potential impact and it would be interesting to hear from experts in the insulation industry on how they envisage the future will unfold. Maybe you already know? Share your thoughts on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Insulation Industry, send your comments to news@insulatenetwork. com or @insulatenetwork on twitter. References 1. Amazon Go 2. Robotic Cop in Dubai 3. The Robot Revolution : The New Age of Manufacturing 4. Construction Enquirers: Balfour Beatty’s Artificial Intelligance vision 5. The Spotlight is on Offsite Construction, Paul Forrester 6. Caterpillar, 1,000 bricks per hour 7. Burger Flipping robot taken offline after one day, BBC 8. TRIB Live, Why the Robot takeover is proceeding slowly 9. Q-Bot The Robot for Insulating Under Floors Jamie Street, Creative at Insulate Network @jamie_insulate 29

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