Sany Construction Industry (“the Company”), Sany Group’s residential construction subsidiary and a world leader in the manufacture of engineering machinery and equipment, concluded its presentation at the 2018 China (Changsha) Prefabricated Building and Construction Technology Expo (PBCTE or “the Expo”), where the company demonstrated its concept of providing green and smart industrialized buildings worldwide.
The construction sector has been part of existence since the dawn of civilization. Despite several millennia of development, there has never been a fundamental change in its operational mode. Onsite construction, which requires a large number of laborers, is still the main blueprint for the sector. With this in mind, the intelligent construction sector may be the manufacturing industry’s biggest opportunity.
The construction industry helps to create comfortable homes for people to live in. Sany Group, a world leader in the manufacture of engineering machinery and equipment, has created many “firsts” in the construction industry. From the Three Gorges Dam to the Bird’s Nest National Stadium in China and from the Americas to Africa, Sany Group engages in business everywhere. When it comes to talking about which companies have the wherewithal to undertake the task of transforming traditional construction practices, Sany Group can be counted among them.
Before Sany drew the attention of visitors at PBCTE, it had showcased its SPCS technology at the 2018 Shanghai International City and Architecture Expo, demonstrating the company’s efforts to lead the construction industry in the move towards intelligent manufacturing.
From SPCS technology, which can match cast-in-place concrete structures in terms of performance, to digital projects that can be undertaken by a diverse workforce of robots, Sany is making efforts to empower the construction sector with a combination of a cast-in-place equivalents, digital factories and intelligent construction in tandem with an industry cloud platform, leading the way in the build-out of a prefabricated building and construction sector that is fully equipped to face the future.
Prefabricated buildings have been a hot trend
Although many manufacturing sectors have, through digitalization, made the transition from industrial 3.0 to industrial 4.0, the construction industry has not yet realized that revolution.
Prefabricated buildings are buildings that can be manufactured in large quantities, just as is done with production lines in dozens of other industries and is the precursor to the revolution. Buildings can be completed by transporting the prefabricated building blocks to the site and then assembling them. This form of construction emerged at the beginning of the 20th century and took off in the 1960s. The UK, France and Russia were the first to jump into something resembling a large scale system, followed by the practice gradually spreading worldwide.
The importance of the role that prefabricated buildings can play has been increasingly recognized in China. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development released the Outline of Modern Development of Building and Construction Industry (“the Outline”) in 2015. According to the Outline, the Chinese government plans to increase the proportion of prefabricated buildings among all newly-built structures to over 20% by 2020 and to over 50% by 2025. Another document, the Guidance for Boosting the Development of Prefabricated Buildings, issued by the State Council on February 22, 2016, indicated that China aims to increase the share of prefabricated buildings that will make up all new construction to 30% within 10 years. In addition, the Action Plan for Prefabricated Buildings (“the Plan”) in the 13th Five-Year Plan Period points out that the overall share of prefabricated buildings in the mix is expected to exceed 15% within the country by 2020, with the proportion to surpass 20% in selected key regions monitored by the Plan.
Sany Group President Tang Xiuguo said, “With the support of favorable government policies, prefabricated buildings will become the mainstay of the next-generation building and construction industry. Unlike traditional cast-in-place reinforced concrete and masonry buildings, a prefabricated building consists of building blocks, including beams, panels, foundations and exterior walls, which are manufactured at plants and then transported to the site for installation after a maintenance and inspection process. A disruptive construction method, prefabricated buildings leverage standard building blocks and industrialized construction methods to re-create the traditional brick- and tile-based techniques handed down over thousands of years since the time of the Qin and Han dynasties.”
Addressing the pain points hobbling the industry through the power of technology
China’s Prefabricated Building Sector Strategic Planning and Corporate Strategy Consultation Report released by the Shenzhen-based Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, a leading Chinese industry consultancy, foresees the Chinese prefabricated building market reaching a value of 698.2 billion yuan (US$101 billion) by 2020 and 1.4389 trillion yuan(US$207 billion) by 2025.
Despite the optimism in terms of the prospects for the market, the prefabricated building industry has been beset by several pain points for a long time. As one example, almost all concrete building standards are set based on cast-in-place concrete technology, while all the design software, which is approved by drawing inspectors and authorities, hasbeen developed based on the same cast-in-place technology. As a result, the sector has some major challenges that need to be addressed, including ensuring a consistency of performance between prefabricated reinforced concrete structures and its cast-in-place counterparts, equal or enhanced bearing capacity, durability and ductility of the connectors or joints between prefabricated blocks or between prefabricated and cast-in-place blocks. Both in-country and global markets now lack a set of uniform standards and protocols based on proven practices.
Cast-in-place equivalent technology effectively connects precast building blocks, primarily exterior walls, with cast-in-place blocks, supported by reliably connected rebars with the aim of creating a fabricated structure, which meets building structure safety standards and matches the cast-in-place structure. Several organizations, including Sany Group, have devoted themselves to addressing the challenges surrounding the technology.
On October 10, 2018, the specifications for Sany Construction Industry’s SPCS technology were released at the Tenth National Prefabricated Building Exchange Conference organized by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, following review and unanimous approval by a group of expert judges. This marked the official roll-out of the assembled monolithic concrete structure system, setting in motion the next stage of industrialization of the Chinese construction sector.
“Based on the goal of achieving intelligent manufacturing-enabled industrialization, Sany Construction Industry developed an assembled monolithic composite structure system that meets the requirements of most buildings and proposed an approach to designing an SPCS structure system that can truly be comparable with cast-in-place concrete structures in terms of performance,” Mr. Tang said. The Company’s technicians developed proprietary production processes for composite concrete structure walls, columns, beams and slabs leading to the manufacturing of various types of equipment for superimposed shear wall production, laminated column integral forming, welding steel cage forming, steel sleeve extrusion and the automated production of prefabricated blocks. The firm also researched and developed a series of construction methods, including a technology for the quick installation of composite concrete structures as well as an installation and construction technology for a welded, reinforced cage capable of supporting and housing composite concrete structures, creating a model for superimposed construction of the structure. To date, applications for 93 patents relating to the technology system have been accepted by regulators. After undergoing and passing several force tests by various compliance authorities, the system has been recognized as the next-generation prefabricated structure system that can truly be comparable with cast-in-place concrete structures.
Creating a new ecosystem of prefabricated buildings
Sany seeks to drive the transformation of the traditional construction sector and provide green and smart industrialized buildings worldwide by taking full advantage of the company’s core advantages in the equipment manufacturing sector and by integrating digital, information and internet technologies. Driven by this vision, Sany Group has positioned itself to lead the transformation that is taking place across the traditional construction market.
Sany has put its stake into the ground. “Sany’s core competitiveness lies in three key technologies and one platform through which the company empowers the construction sector and builds a complete solution for the prefabricated building market,” said Sany Group Chief Architect Chen Guang. The three key technologies are SPCS technology, digital factories and smart construction, while the platform is Sany’s big data-based visualized construction industry cloud platform.
The ability to design and implement the technologies is based on Sany’s extensive experience and deep expertise in monolithic composite structures, space flexibility and technology in advanced materials, while SPCS technology enables seamless combination of cast-in-place concrete and high-precision prefabricated components. Digital factories are made up of a diverse array of construction robots as well as sophisticated and smart prefabricated construction (PC) equipment. Sany Group developed a lineup of dedicated robots capable of replacing workers that engaged in what can best be termed as “back-breaking work,” significantly reducing human costs and the risk of construction site accidents. Sany also manufactures a comprehensive range of production, transportation and installation equipment covering the entire industrialized construction process, including an automated PC production line, a dedicated PC mixing station, and a range of PC logistics and lifting equipment.
Smart construction refers to Sany’s perfected and smart field construction procedures and strong industrial team consisting of technicians with automation and computer knowledge. The workforce on each team is small in number, with each member well-versed in their area of specialization, making these teams the indispensable force for the development of green and smart buildings.
The construction industry cloud platform is the result of Sany’s efforts in promoting the in-depth integration of the enterprise with the information needed and the digitalization of that information for a fully-industrialized approach to the development and roll out of projects. Based on the Internet of Things and big data, the platform provides users with a digital management and monitoring interface from design to assembly and on through the whole production and construction process that integrates information and smart technologies throughout, enabling project owners and construction teams to have full control of the end-to-end process via the cloud.
Sany’s dream is to play a key role at the leading edge of the impending revolution of the prefabricated building sector, just as Siemens and General Motors did in their time, exporting standardized solutions to other manufacturers and enabling all players across the building and construction spectrum. Sany believes that investment in PC along with a few demonstrable successes is the best model for creating what is foreseen to be a profitable new industry.
Based on existing land reserves, Sany looks forward to working with more partners to build a series of demonstration and benchmarking projects in the prefabricated building space throughout the country, further promoting Sany’s hard technology strengths. The company also hopes to build several localized training platforms in various regions in a move to encourage more individuals in the construction sector to look at the development of prefabricated building as an exciting career path with good prospects. To sum up, Sany’s mission is to share its advanced concepts in a move to transform the construction sector with prefabricated technologies, and to encourage the construction of sustainable and green buildings.
The trends of the times have opened up many opportunities in the prefabricated building space, but also for innovative enterprises such as Sany. Sany is confident in its ability to fill the role of transforming the sector with intelligent manufacturing and open a new era of construction through a reasonable and well-thought-out application of its technology, knowledge and expertise.
SOURCE Sany Construction Industry