Material characterization of workability and process imaging for robotic concrete finishing


In this paper, we discuss a robotic-assisted concrete finishing method for fabricating architectural panels. Concrete finishing is an important process for producing architectural elements with acceptable surface quality. It is also a challenging process conventionally relying on skillful laborers. We describe a hybrid framework incorporating both human skill and robotics in the concrete finishing process and a multi-phase sensing strategy to assist in part touch-up and to validate final surface quality. The paper discusses a general approach to finishing from three perspectives: (1) Material characterization of concrete’s workability throughout its setting process, (2) A modular system-architecture for collaborative human-robot concrete finishing, and (3) Assessment feedback of surface quality using process images.

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The funding for the project is provided by Manufacturing Futures Initiative and Pennsylvania Manufacturing Innovation Program.The authors would like to thank the participating partners Prof. David Bourne, Stanislaw Åżelazny, Maciej Kolek from The Robotics Institute Carnegie Mellon University.

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Correspondence to Joshua Bard.

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Liu, J., Lee, Yc. & Bard, J. Material characterization of workability and process imaging for robotic concrete finishing. Constr Robot 5, 73–85 (2021).

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  • Robotic Concrete Finishing
  • Quality Control and Inspection
  • Process Image