Unsurprisingly, technology continues to play a significant role in advancing and improving electrical construction. Innovations exist across many platforms that can increase productivity, safety, and efficient site and facilities management. Following these particular trends can help electrical contractors to stay ahead of the curve with new tech, equipment, and inventions.
Innovation drives traditional electrical construction elements, including the design, installation, upkeep, and systems maintenance. Developing more efficient methods of performing these tasks helps technicians to aid more customers in a shorter time. Modern practices rely on software, virtual and augmented reality, automation, and even robotics.
with all of the building trades, automation is a rapidly growing trend. The reliance on artificial intelligence to complete tasks done by human technicians decreases the ever-present variable of human error resulting in injuries. Electrical work is intricate and exact, so a heavier dependency on automated tasks makes job sites safer and more efficient.
Nearly every construction field has found an application for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs.) In electrical construction, drones have more and more credible uses as their functionality increases. On job sites today, drones observe and inspect infrastructures, map out potential locations, and quickly monitor all activities for a construction project underway. Because these UAVs are more and more common for construction projects, they have become the standard in detecting safety concerns and eliminating potential hazards before injuries occur. The technology continues to evolve to create a constant stream of communication and feed of information back to a base of operations.
- The Internet of Things and Cloud-Based Computation
A system of interconnected devices, programs, and machines relaying information and data over available networks is known as the Internet of Things (IoT.) When this applies to electrical construction, technicians have reliable access to a wealth of information using internet-connected tools and software to complete their desired tasks. This relationship between all of the individual elements of the IoT ensures that other aspects of the build also happen efficiently and without potential errors.
Users are familiar with cloud functionality, as many mobile devices are using servers for quick and reliable storage of information for accounts. In a construction setting, cloud computing provides resources for anyone with access in a safe – and more importantly, scalable – manner.
Smartwatches are not a new development to the tech industry, as many have been using pedometers and far more advanced wearables for several years. The difference is how the electrical industry was able to take this foundation and create electronics that promote safety by preventing electrocution and other injuries. Proxxi, for example, has developed a watch sensor that warns the wearer when they are too close to a live high-voltage current. Contractors can also benefit from integrated GPS functionality for accurate employee time stamps.
Virtual/Augmented Reality Tech
- The Smart Helmet
Part of the efficient construction workplace is optimizing how technicians can view the space where they are working. With a smart helmet and augmented reality (AR) glasses developed by DAQRI, the contractors and other relative personnel can view valuable information such as ductwork placement and electrical cabling fed through wall cavities. In addition to tracking wiring and stationary elements, the helmet can also provide audible and visual alerts when you could be in a potentially hazardous situation. The application of AR in construction is a trend expected to develop quickly.
Programs and Software
- Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
CAD is a software developed to generate 2D and 3D models of projects and structures with the desired materials. Because CAD is instrumental for creating prints and drafts, it has become the standard in developing designs for larger projects with multiple components and layers.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Despite the conventional use of CAD for creating drafts and models for construction projects, BIM has taken this same foundational technology and improved on the software in almost every way. Instead of only rendering your final product and layers, BIM adds intelligence to these files, enhancing communication and collaboration between all relative parties. When projects get designed with Building Information Modeling software, later renovations and remodeling are more efficient.
Prefabrication Construction Applications
- Prefab Components
Largely due to the increased use and popularity of BIM and CAD software, intricate designs and three-dimensional rendering have paved the way for prefabrication in home and office electrical construction projects. For the field of electrical construction, contractors can prefabricate panels, products, and switches to get installed in structural cavities to reduce installation time and nearly eliminate potential technician error.
Prefabricated components to the electrical system installed in residential and commercial structures also reduce waste as these elements are designed to get installed as-is. To further illustrate this point, prefabrication minimizes the need for multiple shipments from specialty suppliers, as the generated part or component arrives with the necessary wire bundles, transformers, panelboards, and other needed materials for installation.
Technology is expanding at a rapid rate to change the way that electrical construction occurs on job sites. Now, we can do these jobs more efficiently and safer than ever before. These particular trends in this field will continue to evolve and become even more innovative solutions to increase the production of contractors into this new decade.