BIM and Robotic Manufacturing (RM) are evolving in parallel in the construction industry. Each system has highly developed technological tools, but their interoperability is seldom developed. In this context, this research integrates the BIM-RM dyad through Computational Design (CD) tools in Off-Site Construction (OSC), resulting in a Design-to-Manufacturing (DtM) framework.
Identifying a research problem began with a cyclic systematic literature review involving over 533 documents. This review dyadically addressed the technological interoperability between BIM, Computational Design (CD), Robotic Manufacturing (RM), and Off-Site Construction (OSC). The dyads studied were categorized as systems in either an interconnected or parallel technological evolution in research. This qualitative categorization was based on the number of articles published (indexed in Scopus or Dimensions databases), extensive research deployment, and involvement of industrial case studies. Dyads in an interconnected technological evolution were defined by joint research or implementation that has reached maturity in research or industry. In contrast, dyads in a technological parallel evolution were defined as having joint research that is still in the preliminary stage or non-existent.
The findings of this categorization are as follows:
In this sense, the problem statement of this research was determined through a gradual emergence of different sub-problems identified in the literature review. Initially motivated by the parallel technological evolution of BIM-RM in construction, the research encountered two additional parallel technological dyads: CD-OSC and RM-OSC. Therefore, these three research gaps are grouped under the problem targeted: The research gap involving the technological interoperability of BIM, CD, RM, and OSC. In other words, this research seeks to define the nexus of BIM and CD for using RM in OSC, enabling an Design-to-Manufacturing (DtM) workflow aimed at overcoming the outlined problem.
Through the investigation of the technological interoperability between BIM, Computational Design (CD), Robotic Manufacturing (RM), and Off-site Construction (OSC), it was possible to demonstrate a new form of dialogue between the design and manufacturing phases. Indeed, the BIM model is the data source, it is supported and converted through CD tools into a program for a robotic arm, which in turn transforms this program into an operation for OSC. This data flow stands for BIM-driven computational design for robotic manufacturing in off-site construction and leads to the Design-to-Manufacturing (DtM) approach.
In this research, the DtM approach is communicated through a framework (presented in the first illustration of the gallery) which relies on the integration of the BIM and CD environments to enable algorithms-aided robotic programming for OSC. Therefore, the DtM framework demonstrates:
This research thus defined the nexus of BIM and CD for using RM in OSC, and demystified the technological interoperability challenges in robotic construction. It also demonstrated the DtM framework’s proposed solution: That these four systems become technologically integrated when combined.