Publications / 2020 Proceedings of the 37th ISARC, Kitakyushu, Japan

Curtain Wall Installation for High-Rise Buildings: Critical Review of Current Automation Solutions and Opportunities

Brandon Johns, Mehrdad Arashpour and Elahe Abdi
Pages 393-400 (2020 Proceedings of the 37th ISARC, Kitakyushu, Japan, ISBN 978-952-94-3634-7, ISSN 2413-5844)

In the construction of high-rise buildings, the conventional methods for the on-site installation of prefabricated facade modules require considerable manual handling. This unsafe and inefficient practice can be solved through automation. This paper critically reviews automated Unitized Curtain Wall (UCW) installation and discusses opportunities for future development, as found in adjacent fields. A generalized solution to the installation of UCW modules is applied to analyze the conventional method in safety, economic efficiency, and logistic viability. Recent automation solutions control wall module vertical transport trajectories with guide rails or redundant parallel cables. Both approaches specialize in capability, leaving many installation scenarios unautomated. Opportunities for improvement exist in efforts to automate crane operations by development of robotic crane end effectors. Localization in uncertain conditions for automated feature detection can be improved by dynamically changing the operator interface. Directions to improve safety and efficiency of UCW on-site installation are identified and recommendations are presented.

Keywords: Assembly; Automation; Construction; Control systems; Curtain wall; Façade; High-rise building; Installation; Robotics; Tower crane