Advanced industrialized construction methods enable complex building components and systems to be built with high precision and quality. This manufacturing technique has an advantage to provide cost-competitive and high energy efficient building components and systems for both retrofits and new construction. This document gives an overview of the use of prefabricated panels in building Net Zero Energy Ready wood-frame multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) in Edmonton.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is an innovative construction material that has brought advantages over traditional wood structures, reducing cost and lead time of buildings in recent years; yet CLT benefits primarily from offsite construction methods instead of automation or safety, while keeping the human onsite. The few advancements in automation for CLT panels have been in the implementation of dedicated CNC machines. Nevertheless, using CNC machines for machining CLT panels have disadvantages like clamping batches of massive panels with individual profiles, lacking the flexibility to access all acute machining angles, and struggling with the extraction of dust while the cutting spindle moves through large tight spaces. These disadvantages can be overcome with industrial robots’ help, which the construction industry has not been traditionally favorable on their application, giving then the research gap in this study. This paper explores the introduction of a robotic cell for the machining of cross-laminated timber panels. The robotic cell is designed using 3D modeling and validated through motion simulation in a virtual environment. The proposed cell design is based on a minimum viable product and compared against a minimum throughput benchmarked on the Canadian market. This study aims to research the feasibility of CLT’s automated machining by providing clear production characteristics of the designed robotic cell, such as material and tool utilization rates, lead time, or production efficiency.
The timber industry has experienced in the last decades a relevant increase in terms of high performance buildings. Despite these advancements and the favorable properties of building with wood, the traditional position of "choosing by costs" still finds wooden building as more expensive than concrete or steel ones. In order to be competitive in the market against these two main building materials and meet the expectations of modern and large-volume wood based constructions, new improvements based on standardization and prefabricated systems have to be implemented. At the same time a full collaborative work between all the participants on a project is needed to redefine and optimize the construction and design processes through sharing specific and detailed information and extended know-how at a very early project stage. Through this approach, the high potential of combining off-site construction, Building Information Modeling (BIM) as a work methodology and lean management practices will be investigated, involving architects, engineers, BIM users in the timber industry, timber manufactures, contractors and all the stakeholders with the aim of reaching the most effective and productive design and construction process in multi-story timber buildings.