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Construction robot that could achieve 30% labor saving unveiled in Tokyo

The construction robot, behind the pillar, sprays on a fireproof coating in this photo taken in Tokyo's Koto Ward on April 16, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- A prototype construction robot that can spray on coatings at more than twice the speed of humans has been unveiled to the media, amid hopes such robots could help compensate for a shortage of manpower in Japan's construction industry in the future.

Osaka-based Daiwa House Industry Co. unveiled the robot at a construction site in Tokyo's Koto Ward on April 16. The robot is able to spray a fireproof coating on the frame of the building in place of humans -- a task the company's technical headquarters describes as the toughest. Officials said it could provide a labor saving of 30 percent compared with conventional human work.

According to the company, the test model is 2.6 meters long and has a maximum height of 3.7 meters. Officials envisage it being used indoors. It consists of an extendable robot arm placed on a movable trolley. Following inputted construction site data, it can spray on coatings at more than twice the speed of humans.

The company began developing the robot in May last year, and so far has invested about 90 million yen in the project. The firm aims to put the robot into use in fiscal 2019. Head of Technology Kazuto Tsuchida commented, "It is expected the construction industry will face a shortage of 1.12 million workers in 2025. There are major expectations for robots, and we hope this will lead to high quantity production."

(Japanese original by Masaki Takahashi, Tokyo Bureau)

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