The construction site in Japan where Obayashi is building a dam almost exclusively with automated equipment. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Obayashi Corporation

Technology Japan12. September 2020

A World Built by Robots? That’s a Good Thing When the Workforce is Aging (like in Japan)

Obayashi Corporation is testing the use of robots to build a concrete dam in Mie Prefecture, Japan, as a solution to the problem of labor shortage and an aging workforce.

“By transferring expert techniques to machines, we’re able to analyze what was once implicit knowledge,” says Akira Naito, the head of Obayashi’s dam technology unit. The use of automated equipment shortens the years of practice and experience required to build up the knowledge of how to properly build a dam. “Eventually, we may be able to cut building time by 30%.”

Parts of the building process will still require humans, like operating the cranes. In an aging industry where 35% of the workforce is over 55, the use of robots for construction purposes could potentially save it.

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