Cutting inefficiency, not corners

Published 30/12, 2020 at 09:03

In this feature about remote controlled demolition robots, PDi has invited Joakim Furtenbeck, sales director, Brokk, to share his thoughts about three ways demolition robots increase efficiency in concrete cutting applications.

Demolition, like every industry, is constantly evolving. To keep ahead of the curve, contractors seek out the machines and methods that increase productivity while decreasing the physical toll on workers.  Concrete sawing is viable option for fast, effective removal. However, savvy contractors are finding that adding remote control demolition robots to their sawing operation not only increases productivity and safety, but also allows them to reduce bid prices and maximise profits. Here’s how.


Complete jobs faster

Take a wall sawing job for example. To remove a 10m x3m wall in a confined space with a saw requires, on average, 25 cuts. Depending on depth, this might take several passes. Once cut, the concrete blocks need to be broken down for easier removal. The whole process would take at least four days with two saws and require a crew of at least three: two to run the saws and at least one more to handle removal.  Using a remote control demolition robot can cut the time in half. Rates vary based on machine, material and depth, but demolition robots are capable of extraordinary productivity — up to 5m3/h in some cases. 

To remove the same 10m x 3m wall used as an example above, the contractor would still require perimeter cuts to avoid transferring vibration to surrounding structures. After that though, the demolition robot and a single operator could quickly and effectively break up the concrete into small pieces that are easily cleaned up with a skid steer loader.  

Bank vaults and other heavily reinforced concrete removal applications are another area where a demolition robot can reduce removal time by more than half. The robot works its way across the surface, exposing the rebar for cutting with a torch. This method greatly reduces diamond costs from standard methods such as core drilling, wire sawing, and wall sawing. Additionally, demolition robots reduce the need for scaffolding on larger vertical demolition projects since some models can reach up to 5m. This can save up to a week before and after the project, allowing contractors to take on more revenue producing jobs instead. 


Keep operators out of harm’s way

Machine reach, paired with a 300m remote operating distance, also keeps workers away from jobsite dangers such as falling objects, flying debris, weak floors, ledges and silica dust.  Perhaps the biggest safety advantage though is limiting the human element in the more manual aspects of concrete cutting. Using a demolition robot minimises the need for handheld saws, coring equipment or pneumatic breakers. Working with these machines, some of which can weigh 18kg or more, can easily fatigue workers and the vibrations can lead to long term injuries. Robotic demolition also creates more manageable rubble that is easily lifted and removed, further reducing strain on workers.


Versatility with a range of attachments

Attachments can further increase safety and productivity. A crusher attachment, for example, is quieter than a saw or handheld pneumatic devices and breakers, making the jobsite safer for workers and the public.  It also opens up new opportunities in areas where saws would be too noisy, such as near hospitals or schools. It also makes waste disposal easier by separating concrete and rebar onsite. The possibilities go beyond concrete cutting as well. In addition to crushers and breakers, leading remote control demolition robot manufacturers offer a range of attachments for cutting pipes, taking down stud walls, sorting debris, digging, and even vacuum lifting slabs.  This means that a demolition robot with the right array of attachments can not only increase productivity, but also limit the need for additional support equipment on congested jobsites. 

In effect the bottom line is that concrete sawing contractors who supplement their operation with remote control demolition robots can do jobs faster, safer, and with lower overheads. It’s that simple. What used to take a week with a large crew can now be done in just a few days with a small crew and a single machine. 

Once the first job is done, they can quickly move on to the next, doubling their productivity. Labour and diamond savings add up, as does the profit margin with each extra job they can take on. Not to mention the savings from a healthy, happy workforce.  Demolition robots won’t replace concrete sawing, but as part of a versatile operation, it can easily open up doors — or bank vaults — to increased profits.


About the author
Joakim Furtenback is sales director for Brokk AB. He has more than 20 years of industry experience. His work with Brokk focuses on developing sales globally together with Brokk subsidiaries, distributors and agents.

Join our Newsletter