Will This Go Over Like a Ton of Bricks?

July 14, 2015
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo

I’m beginning to think that a lot of the construction workers of the future are going to be more computer programmers than wheelbarrow jocks. And again, I’m trying to evaluate if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’ll withhold my judgement and leave it up to you, the reader, to supply me with more input.

Masons beware. A company in Perth, Australia named Fastbrick Robotics has created a brick-laying robot called “the Hadrian,” and claims it can build the foundation of a house in two days. The company says the robot can cut to size, mortar, and place 1,000 bricks per hour, which is about 20 times faster than what the average human bricklayer can do. A robot arm that picks up and places the brick positions itself using a fixed marker that is being fed information from a 3D CAD representation of the house, and it employs lasers to triangulate its position. It then calculates the location of every brick and creates a program that is used to cut and lay the bricks in sequence. The 28-meter articulated telescopic boom picks up a brick, mortar is applied, and it’s then placed in the correct sequence. The robot can de-hack, measure, scan for quality, and cut bricks to length…at the same time routing for electrical and other services. If the robot is on a platform that vibrates or sways, it auto-corrects itself 1,000 times per second to maintain accurate placement of the brick. The CEO of Fastbrick Robotics, Mike Pivac, says, “The Hadrian reduces the overall construction time of a standard home by approximately six weeks.”

I’m beginning to think that a lot of the construction workers of the future are going to be more computer programmers than wheelbarrow jocks. And again, I’m trying to evaluate if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’ll withhold my judgement and leave it up to you, the reader, to supply me with more input. Masons beware. A company in Perth, Australia named Fastbrick Robotics has created a brick-laying robot called “the Hadrian,” and claims it can build the foundation of a house in two days. The company says the robot can cut to size, mortar, and place 1,000 bricks per hour, which is about 20 times faster than what the average human bricklayer can do. A robot arm that picks up and places the brick positions itself using a fixed marker that is being fed information from a 3D CAD representation of the house, and it employs lasers to triangulate its position. It then calculates the location of every brick and creates a program that is used to cut and lay the bricks in sequence. The 28-meter articulated telescopic boom picks up a brick, mortar is applied, and it’s then placed in the correct sequence. The robot can de-hack, measure, scan for quality, and cut bricks to length…at the same time routing for electrical and other services. If the robot is on a platform that vibrates or sways, it auto-corrects itself 1,000 times per second to maintain accurate placement of the brick. The CEO of Fastbrick Robotics, Mike Pivac, says, “The Hadrian reduces the overall construction time of a standard home by approximately six weeks.” [text_ad] Along with time savings, accuracy, and being electrically powered…another upside being touted is that the Hadrian will also create jobs. The company’s logic says that in Australia, bricklaying has become a passé career with most master craftsmen being older than 50 and nearing retirement. Using robotics on the job would attract younger apprentices to job sites and increase the size of the workforce. The Hadrian is named after the famous Roman defensive wall of antiquity. Mike Pivac’s brother, Mark, got the idea to develop the robot during Perth’s bricklaying crisis of 2005. According to Mark Pivac, people have been laying bricks for thousands of years and ever since the industrial revolution, they’ve been trying to automate the process. He told an Australian newspaper, “We’re at a technological nexus where a few different technologies have got to the level where it’s now possible to do it, and that’s what we’ve done.” Here is some video animation of how the Hadrian is supposed to work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rebqcsb61gY. Now check out some video of a smaller scale bricklaying robot named “SAM” that was developed by the company, Construction Robotics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKoQMD0QZQs. Drones are now being used on construction sites. Equipment manufacturers are experimenting with remote controlled bull dozers. Should we be alarmed by this technology? Should we simply embrace it? How much do we value the benefits of these advancements? What questions, if any, should we answer before advancing the technology?

Along with time savings, accuracy, and being electrically powered…another upside being touted is that the Hadrian will also create jobs. The company’s logic says that in Australia, bricklaying has become a passé career with most master craftsmen being older than 50 and nearing retirement. Using robotics on the job would attract younger apprentices to job sites and increase the size of the workforce.

The Hadrian is named after the famous Roman defensive wall of antiquity. Mike Pivac’s brother, Mark, got the idea to develop the robot during Perth’s bricklaying crisis of 2005. According to Mark Pivac, people have been laying bricks for thousands of years and ever since the industrial revolution, they’ve been trying to automate the process. He told an Australian newspaper, “We’re at a technological nexus where a few different technologies have got to the level where it’s now possible to do it, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Here is some video animation of how the Hadrian is supposed to work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rebqcsb61gY.

Now check out some video of a smaller scale bricklaying robot named “SAM” that was developed by the company, Construction Robotics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKoQMD0QZQs.

Drones are now being used on construction sites. Equipment manufacturers are experimenting with remote controlled bull dozers. Should we be alarmed by this technology? Should we simply embrace it? How much do we value the benefits of these advancements? What questions, if any, should we answer before advancing the technology?