At the end of October, Hilti introduced their new semi-autonomous ceiling drilling robot.
The Hilti Jaibot is remotely driven by an operator to the correct location, and once given the go-ahead, it will automatically drill all the holes within reach of the arm as marked by the building information modeling (BIM) data.
Jaibot’s robotic arm can extend to drill into ceilings from 8.5 to 16.5 feet tall and can drill holes from 3/16″ to 3/4″ in diameter. These are standard sizes for post-install Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing anchors.
The Hilti Jaibot links with a dedicated project cloud to access the BIM data, and it uses this data to locate the holes it needs to drill. The Jaibot updates the project data as it works, so you can watch its progress back at the office.
The Jaibot will operate for up to 8 hours on its internal batteries and recharges in approximately 6 hours — if you plug it in at the end of the day it should be ready to work the next morning.
Even though Jaibot uses off-the-shelf components, such as a Hilti TE 6-A22 cordless rotary hammer and VC 75-1-A22 cordless vacuum, these components are modified to run off the Jaibot’s internal battery.
The Jaibot arrives on site in its own container that can be moved by a forklift or crane. When the Jaibot is in “transport mode” it measures less than 3 feet wide and 5.5 feet tall, fitting through most doorways and into most lifts or elevators.
Here’s what a typical day with Jaibot might look like. When it’s time to start working, the operator drives Jaibot out of its container where’s it’s been charging overnight, and over to the working area.
The operator pulls the PLT 300 total station out of a compartment on the Jaibot and sets up the auto leveling and auto-stationing features. The PLT 300 tracks the cylindrical prism on the Jaibot arm so that the system knows where the drill bit is, to an accuracy of 1/8″.
The operator follows a guided workflow on the screen of the remote control. Once set up, the operator raises the arm to the correct height and then clicks the ‘go’ button. Jaibot will then drill and mark all of the anchor locations within a 6-foot diameter.
Once the robot is finished, the operator can move the robot to a new location and repeat the process. If there is an issue with hitting rebar or other type of hole interference, the operator can skip the hole or move its location and the BIM gets updated over the cloud.
How much will this system cost? Hilti has no specific price set, but will base the cost on the needs of the customer and project. They claim the Jaibot will be “approximately cost-neutral vs. traditional post-install methods.” The savings to the customer will come in the form of improved productivity and safety.
The Jaibot should be available in 2021.
This is Hilti’s first foray into robotics. Hilti says that the Jaibot system is modular, and although they won’t commit to answering any questions about what might be coming next, I am convinced that they are hard at work developing the next use.
The engineer in me loves seeing the reuse of parts in this complex system. The hardest working parts, the drill and vacuum, are off-the-shelf Hilti cordless power tools. What this means for the contractor is that replacements and parts for the tools are a phone call away if you don’t already have spares.
I can’t imagine drilling holes in concrete above my head for 8 hours a day – the strain on your body must be enormous, not to mention the safety issues of being on a ladder or scaffold and having to worry about kickback if the drill bit gets stuck. This robot eliminates all of those issues. The operator can remain safely on the ground while the robot does the heavy work.