Robotic roofing automation on flat and metal seem roofs is a relatively new technology in commercial construction. Roofing robots are not intended to replace the workforce, but rather increase consistency, increase yield, and decrease downtime – thereby freeing up workers to complete other tasks. While applicator crews typically consist of four or more people, the use of robots that can decrease that number down to two people.
In addition to saving bottom line expense, roofing robots give the estimator more accuracy when pricing projects. By increasing yield and consistency of application, it minimizes errors of inconsistencies. Material is typically the largest expense with Polyurethanes and Polyurea, so if the cost can be more accurate, the quote will not require such a high margin of error.
Types of Roofs and Surfaces that Benefit from Automation
- Flat Roof Coating Systems – roofing robots work with most flat roof coating systems. Regardless of the substrate, application can be made consistent with the right prep. Whether you’re working on gravel, EPDM, single-ply roofing, concrete roof decks or others – preparation is key in applying coatings with an even, consistent spray with robotic roofing automation.
- Polyurea – silicone, acrylic elastomers, and polymer-modified products typically require much thicker application up to 60 mils. Robotic roofing automation provides accuracy within +/- 2 mils – a consistency only achieved by the most experienced applicators.
- Architectural Metal Roof – products like SSR (standing seem rib), R-panel, and corrugated panels have not benefitted much from automation in the past, however new technologies can create consistent spray foam automation on architectural metal roofs. With the right equipment, automation can easily be achieved when using spray foam – even including a max operating slope of 2:12 (9.5).
- Epoxies – in addition to robotic roofing, concrete decks and other concrete surfaces requiring waterproofing can benefit from automation. Epoxy is a durable material used for high traffic areas that are exposed to road salt, oil, and other chemicals, and require consistent, even application. This combination can easily be achieved through automation.
Types of Equipment Used with Automation
Make sure your automation is compatible with a variety of spray guns, including static mix airless and airless spray guns to accommodate both single and plural component airless operations. Virtually any heated hose and machine works perfect, as long as it is compatible with the material you are spraying, length of hose, and spray gun. Robotic roofing automation works independent from equipment so the robot controls the speed and accuracy of spray, whereas your machine controls the temperature and flow.