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The disruptors are here – new tech hits the headlines at UK Construction Week

Construction
was told three years ago it had to ‘Modernise or die.’ That statement has
clearly resonated with parts of the sector with new technology and techniques
entering the industry, but what about the rest of the sector?

This
drive for innovation encouraged UK Construction Week (UKCW) to throw down the
gauntlet and ask the new disruptors to step forward and show others the way
towards the next industrial revolution.

As
part of this, UKCW 2019 will be bringing cutting edge technology to the NEC, in
Birmingham, 8-10 October. It is a must attend event for any construction
professional who wants a peek into the future.

The
new Innovation Zone, partnered with the Construction Innovation Hub (the Hub),
is only hosting exhibitors with genuinely innovative products, and it has
really pushed the innovation boat out.

Products
range from brick laying robots to crane simulators, from quiet heat pumps to
BIM-related innovations.

Nathan
Garnett, UKCW event director says: “We really want to encourage true innovation
at this year’s show. With assistance from our advisory board and input from the
Hub we have some fascinating new products to showcase in the Innovation Zone.
The journey towards a more modern industry has begun, although there is still a
way to go. Our hope is that UKCW will demonstrate a new possible future, which
will challenge and inspire others to change.”

Examples
on display include robotics, with the Semblr Catus robots out in force at the show.
Working in small swarms, they build brickwork at faster speeds and lower costs
than larger robots. Speeding up this heavily manual process will make a huge
difference to the delivery of buildings and other brick structures.

Virtual
reality is bringing the industry to life and Industrial Training International
has harnessed it to develop a crane simulator for training purposes. The
simulator has 1,000 different scenarios and eight different models of crane.
Using Oculus technology, the system provides crane operators with the
experience of making decisions in real time.

Sharing
tasks and information can be time consuming, especially if big files are
included.  PlanRadar has developed an all new task management system which
works in 3D. This is essentially a 3D BIM version for designers, architects and
builders and makes sharing plans much easier.

The
drive for more sustainable solutions is also pushing technology forward and
JCB’s new electric Teletruk is a prime example of that. The new clean
technology reduces emissions to zero at point of use. It also uses JCB
telematics to measure energy consumption in real time.

Air
source heat pumps have caught the attention of the Government as a low carbon
heating option. Mitsubishi’s Ecodan ultra quiet air source heat pump is
breaking new ground because it is so quiet it can be located closer to homes.
It is also more efficient and helps reduce the reliance on fossil fuels.

Investing
in fleet machinery is a costly matter and that is why MachineMax has developed
a new telematics system for off-highway fleet aimed at getting the most out of
capital investment. Using internet of things technology (IoT), machine learning
and cloud computing, it is helping to cut fuel costs, decreasing emissions and
improving productivity.  

In
2023 reduced softwood dust workplace exposure limits by the HSE will come into
effect. This legislative change will see the need for businesses to limit
employee exposure to softwood dust. Multiquip has acted by introducing the IQ
dustless masonry saw and tile saw, which it will be demonstrating at the show.

Fire
has been on everyone’s agenda since Grenfell with many companies adding fire
proofing to their ranges. Tenmat has introduced a new product range of passive
fire protection to provide fire breaks around ceiling fittings. The products
include downlight covers, fire rated air valves and ceiling fan fire stops. A
ceiling is only as fireproof as its weakest element, so this new product range
is essential to improve fire safety.

Self-build,
sustainability and repurposing are all boxes which are ticked by another
innovation – the Studio Bark wooden building system called U-Build. It is made
up of wooden frames and panels which can be assembled and dismantled with just
a drill and a hammer. It can be used to build a small or large structure
depending on your needs and once the build is no longer required it can be
dismantled. 

There
are many more products on display in the Innovation Zone and one of them will
be the winner of the new Innovation Award, which will be announced on Wednesday
9 October.

UKCW is one event with many sections, including
Build sponsored by Easy-Trim, Building Tech, Civils, Energy and HVAC, Surface
and Materials, and Timber. It also features Concrete Expo (8-9 October only)
and Grand Designs Live (9-10 October only). Single registration gives free access to all
areas of the show. Pre-booking is also strongly recommended for the extensive seminars and CPD programme.

Find
out more about what’s on at UKCW at: https://www.ukconstructionweek.com/

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