Robots Can’t Fix Everything

Demolition Robots Don’t Eliminate Need for Concrete Scanning

Robots Can’t Fix Everything

Demolition Robots Don’t Eliminate Need for Concrete Scanning
A worker controls a demolition robot.
Autonomous demolition equipment is more popular, efficient, and cost effective than ever. But this precision demolition equipment does not mitigate all risks of demolition activities.

Autonomous demolition equipment is more popular, efficient, and cost effective than ever.

According to a recent report by Digital Journal, manufacturers and suppliers are observing a significant rise in the demand for demolition robots – particularly when the project involves older buildings and structures.

As the name suggests, autonomous or robotic demolition involves using remote-controlled machines to accomplish the traditionally labor-intensive and dangerous action of demolishing a structure. Robotic demolition machines can be equipped with a variety of tools, such as hydraulic breakers, shears, or crushers, depending on the specific needs of the project. They are primarily used in situations where typical demolition methods are too dangerous or impractical.

It might surprise you to learn that demolition robots are old technology. They were first invented in the early 1980s, but they’ve only recently become cost effective enough for widespread use.

While demolition robots are still expensive – even the smallest examples cost more than $100,000 apiece – they save time and labor costs, and they mitigate many of the most common dangers associated with demolition work. You don’t have to worry about a robot inhaling silica from shattered concrete or getting injured and requiring paid time off to recuperate.

Of course, autonomous demolition equipment does not eliminate all the risks of demolition. Subsurface damage can be catastrophic regardless of who – or what – causes it.

A plethora of unseen dangers can be unearthed when breaking ground or pulverizing concrete. From severing rebar or post tension cable to hitting an electric or gas line, subsurface damage can result in injury or death – not to mention tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs.

Striking rebar or post tension cable could cause an immediate structural collapse that puts the entire job site in danger. Hitting a gas line could cause an explosion that puts an entire community in danger. Services to entire neighborhoods could be disrupted. At the very least, work stops until a repair can be completed.

Just because a structure, or part of a structure, is set to come down does not mean it can’t cause problems on its way out. And whether a human is physically in a demolition machine, or controlling it remotely, it’s important that any potential subsurface obstructions be identified prior to any destructive activities beginning.

Precision concrete scanning is a necessary step before any destructive activities take place on a job site. And ground penetrating radar (GPR) scanning technology is the most effective tool for locating objects embedded in or under a concrete slab.

GPR is a non-destructive detection and imaging method in which a radio signal is sent into a concrete structure. The radio wave bounces off any material it encounters and creates a reading that displays these “bounces” as hyperbolas. An experienced GPR technician interprets this reading to determine the type of material located.

Scanning concrete with GPR reveals rebar, post tension cables, electrical conduit, voids, and more. This is also an effective method of structural review including concrete slab measurement and rebar spacing.

A demolition robot breaks down a wall.
Whether you’re using traditional demolition equipment or demolition robots, proper pre-planning such as precision concrete scanning should take place before any destructive activities begin.

Concrete should be scanned before any excavation or renovation work begins. This includes coring, drilling, cutting, and any other activities that could compromise the concrete’s strength.

The average cost of a single utility strike is $56,000. But the biggest risk of not scanning concrete prior to coring, drilling, or cutting is not to the pocketbook; it’s to the workers performing the task.

Hiring a professional concrete scanning service to scan your slab ensures all major components within that structure are marked out. This helps prevent damage that could prove costly, and even fatal.

Damage to rebar or post tension cables could potentially cause immediate structural failure, leading to injury or the death of those on site. Severing a hidden power line could cause electrocution, which could also lead to death.

With over 400 Project Managers, strategically stationed in every major market and city across the United States, GPRS has an unmatched nationwide service network that makes it quick and easy to find an expert Project Manager near you. We reach your location within 24 to 48 hours of contact to solve all and any of your infrastructure visualization needs.

We’re here to help Intelligently Visualize The Built World™ for you. What can we help you visualize? Click here to schedule a service today.