Automation & Robotics for Construction
Automated Installation of Noise Barrier Panels
Background and Current Practice
Noise barriers are installed along expressways, roads, MRT tracks and construction sites in Singapore to dampen the noise from vehicles, trains and machinery. In order to enable quieter living environments, there are plans to install more noise barriers, for example along the North-South Corridor and along MRT tracks in places like Joo Koon, Bishan and Paya Lebar.
The above picture illustrates how noise barriers are installed. The workers use a work-at-height equipment to carry and slide the panels into column structures. For a noise barrier that is 4.5m high, this process is repeated till each column is filled with nine panels. The current method requires two men on the boom lift to perform the installation and at least two men on the ground to pass the panels and operate the work-at-height equipment.
Details on this installation process can be found in the Method Statement document under Resources (below).
Opportunity Areas and Key Challenges
We are interested in robotics solutions that can automate the installation of noise barrier panels. The solution should help reduce the manpower and machinery involved in the panel installation process.
The following are requirements and considerations that are important when designing the solution:
- The solution must be able to transport the panels to the point of installation in a manner that does not cause damage to the panels or distort their shape. Each panel has a length of 2m and a height of 0.5m. Its thickness varies between 8mm to 60mm, and depending on type, it weighs up to 12kg.
- The solution must consider how the panels are collected for installation. It could include a panel storage system to ease the collection process.
- It must accurately identify the profile of the column structure and slide the panel to the correct height, depending on which panels have already been installed.
- The panel installation process should take less than 10 minutes per column.
- The solution should ideally be able to automatically move onto the next column once the installation for a column is complete.
- It could be designed to access a height of at least 5m or be integrated with work-at-height equipment, for example, a boom lift.
The solution should include a simple interface to programme and remotely control the robotics solution.
A robotics solution can collect and install noise barrier panels for noise barriers of up to 4.5m in height within 10 minutes. The solution ideally reduces manpower required for this process to just one person.