Hephaestus: Cable-driven parallel robots install high-rise façades and façade modules

© Tecnalia

In short

In the future cable-driven parallel robots could carry out the complex, dangerous and expensive installation of curtain wall modules, especially on high-rise buildings: the Hephaestus project (Highly automatEd PHysical Achievements and PerformancES using cable roboTs Unique Systems) is developing the prototype of a cable-driven parallel robot for the automated assembly of façades.


In detail

Currently, façades are assembled with cranes, which move the individual façade modules to the desired position. Several construction workers place them on previously manually installed connection systems (brackets). This process not only involves safety risks, but is time-consuming and costly. Researchers at Fraunhofer IPA are working together with a European consortium to improve and automate this process by using cable-driven parallel robots.

In the planned process, a cable-driven parallel robot automatically installs a connecting device, the so-called bracket, on the building shell of a house. The cable-driven parallel robot then positions the façades panel in it. The robot's winches are particularly strong and can carry up to 1.5 tons each. The process can take place at a height of up to 40 floors and requires only one employee to be present.

The procedure was systematically tested on a prototype in Bilbao. Within the project Fraunhofer IPA is mainly responsible for the simulation and control of the robot. The aim of the project is a cost- efficient, reliable, flexible, easy-to-operate and highly automated robot system equipped with a modular end-effector kit for outdoor use.

Insights into the project

Project partner:

Tecnalia (coordinator), TU München, CNRS -LIRMM, Cemvisa Vicinay, nLink, Focchi , Acciona, R2M Solution

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 732513.


Project duration:

01.01.2017 until 31.12.2020