Robot-based construction automation: An application to steel beam assembly (Part I)

Baeksuk Chu, Kyoungmo Jung, Myo Taeg Lim, Daehie Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


The construction industry has not traditionally been a favorable field for the application of robotic technologies. However, various motivations such as the shrinking labor population, the aging of skilled workers, and the safety issue of ironworkers have promoted the development of robotic construction systems. In this research, one of those trials, a project entitled "Robot-based construction automation system for high-rise building" is presented. Among diverse construction works, this project focused on a robotic automation of the steel beam assembly. The project is a cooperative effort between a robot research group and a construction automation group in South Korea. The main objective of this paper is to an introduction for the development of a robotic beam assembly system administered by the robot research group. The robotic beam assembly system consists of a robotic bolting device that performs the main function for the beam assembly work and a robotic transport mechanism that transports the robotic bolting device to target bolting positions around a building under construction. This paper presents the specific functions, structures, and mechanisms of the robotic bolting device and accounts for the application of the visual servo control technique to a bolting control system which is a software component. The robotic transport mechanism part is discussed in a companion paper [14]. The real prototype of the proposed system was manufactured and intensive field tests were conducted in a test bed. Moreover, this system was applied to a section of a real building, the Robot Convergence Building of Korea University, South Korea, which has one story below and seven above the ground, and obtained a feasibility of an application of the robotic beam assembly system to actual construction sites. The suggested system is expected to be a promising alternative to ironworkers in the steel beam assembly in terms of safety and time-efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work presented in this paper was funded by BMRC (Building-Façade Maintenance Robot Research Center) , supported by the Korea Institute of Construction and Transportation Technology Evaluation and Planning (KICTEP) under the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) , the Human Resources Development program (No. 20124010203250 ) of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning(KETEP) grant funded by the Korea government Ministry of Knowledge Economy , and this research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( 2012-0000792 ).


  • Bolting control system
  • Construction factory
  • Construction robot
  • Robotic bolting device
  • Steel beam assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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