• Outputs

    Outputs

Augmented Reality for Roof Tiling

 

New house building is facing a huge skills shortage, with the sector currently unable to meet customer and Government demand for 300,000 new houses year on year. It is important for the supply chain and SMEs to work with their clients in order to meet these targets, with offsite manufacture seen as a way to increase productivity, and improve standards of health, safety and quality assurance.

AIMCH project partner, Forster Roofing, part of the Forster Group, is a small medium enterprise (SME) and Scotland’s largest integrated roofing and solar company, covering one-in-five new homes in Scotland. Recognised for its innovative approach and commitment to excellence, Forster works extensively with industry and government bodies to raise standards and drive change. At Forster, innovation sits at the heart of a strategic approach to sustainable, long-term growth, and the search for solutions to industry challenges, including quality, productivity and an integrated low carbon energy future.

 

Milton Keynes
Stewart Milne
robot

summary

The AIMCH project presented the opportunity for Forster Roofing to partner with The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), an independent Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) that develops and proves innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile, low risk environment, in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions.

In 2019 Forster Roofing and MTC started developing an advanced roof tiling solution to address these challenges. The potential benefits of a successful project could significantly reduce site installation times, in turn increasing productivity, as well as a range of health and safety benefits.

Successful trials have been performed at MTC’s workshop and on Forster’s live construction sites in Scotland. These trials are still ongoing as the solution is further developed. The next stage includes productivity studies to validate the expected benefits.

 

 

Augmented Reality JOURNEY

Forster’s vision combined with the experience and technical ability of the MTC resulted in an opportunity to explore innovative solutions with the usage of new emerging Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to streamline the transfer of data between the head office and site based operatives.

The development of a Proof of Concept (PoC) solution began by understanding the “traditional” methods of construction and the key constrains and challenges the roofing operatives encounter. This was achieved by conducting a series of workshops between MTC and Forster’s. This helped identify the key benefits and risks of using AR outdoors whilst working at height.

Further Research & Development (R&D) was then performed with the aim of identifying the ideal hardware and software to host the AR application, and to design the best solution which ensured the key risks had been mitigated.

The outcomes are promising, and the Forster’s Roofing team are now seeking way to industrialise the AR PoC and use the technology so it complements the overall Forster’s Advanced Roof Tiling system.

Milton Keynes
Stewart Milne
robot

 

Principal Outcomes

Forsters and MTC delivered the following principal Advanced Roof Tiling outcomes:

1
The project performed a feasibility study and the evaluation and test of AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) devices to identify the ones that meet the required Health and Safety criteria to be used at heights and are suitable to be used in an outdoors environment. 
2

Design of an AR solution to deliver 3D information to workers to facilitate the installation of roof tiles and associated components onsite. Also used in training and information transfer between Head office and site based operatives. 

3
Development of a Proof of Concept demonstrating the usage of Handheld AR technologies to support the roofing process.
4
Deep technical understanding of the capabilities and limitations of Handheld and HMD (Head Mounted Display) AR technology and how state-of-the-art devices can support and expand the initial Proof of Concept for roof tilling. 
 

Conclusion

Forster Roofing’s new AR solution for roofing has both significant benefits productivity and quality. This project has shown that it is clearly feasible from a technical and practical standpoint.

The outcomes of the project could allow similar SME contractors within the construction industry to see the benefits of this technology. Forster Roofing’s new advanced roof tiling solution proves that it will be possible for workers to have a complete solution to assist the roof measurement, configuration and roof tiling process making use of AR technology that is easy to use and fits in their pocket.

The next stage for Forster is to take this proof of concept and develop a full AR solution prototype.