How the Australian bricklaying robot and Caterpillar are working on automating the construction industry one brick at a time
Two years ago, Australian-based construction company, Fastbrick Robotics, made waves with their bricklaying robot. Its name was Hadrian. Its claim to fame: building the framework of an average sized house in two days via automated bricklaying at 1,000 bricks per hour. Fast forward two years later, and the bricklaying robot and Caterpillar construction have teamed up to get Hadrian into the global market.
By way of a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) of a house’s structure, Hadrian X, the official name of Fastbrick’s robot, is built on a 98-foot articulated telescopic boom. From there, the robot does everything from loading and cutting to routing and placing the bricks according to sequence. The robot also takes into account doors, windows, features, and channels for electrical wiring and plumbing. Mortar and other adhesives are delivered to the head of the boom for application.
Hadrian X also utilizes laser technology. This enables it to accurately line bricks up with other bricks either underneath one another or side to side from each other. And much to Hadrian’s advantage, the robot is engineered to handle nearly any size brick on the current market.
1,000 bricks per hour equals about 150 homes a year roughly. In other words, Hadrian X reduces overall construction time of a standard home by almost six weeks.
Impressed by its stats, the worldwide heavy machinery company invested $2 million into Hadrian X as backing. Bound only by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for now, the bricklaying robot and Caterpillar have big plans for the construction market.
Together, the companies want to collaborate on the development, manufacturing, sales, and services of Hadrian X. With the robot having gone two years on the market underutilized, Caterpillar is eager to implement it internationally. In fact, in addition to investing $2 million, the bricklaying robot and Caterpillar are both developing a strategic alliance board to optimize the robot’s best course of promotion and to get it into as many different countries as possible.
Caterpillar has also offered an additional $8 million investment in the future if Fastbrick’s shareholders approve of the partnership and make it legal. Although Hadrian X was slated for commercial release as early as last year, nothing came to fruition. The new release date is by the end of 2017.