Laying down paving bricks is back-breaking, time-consuming work... or at least, it is if you do it the usual way. Henk van Kuijk, director of Dutch industrial company Vanku, evidently decided that squatting/kneeling and shoving the bricks into place on the ground was just a little too slow, so he invented the Tiger Stone paving machine. The road-wide device is fed loose bricks, and lays them out onto the road as it slowly moves along. A quick going-over with a tamper, and you’ve got an instant brick road.
One to three human operators stand on the platform of the Tiger Stone, and move loose bricks by hand from its hopper to its sloping “pusher” slot – the bricks do have to be fed into the pusher in the desired finished pattern. From there, gravity causes them to slide together, in one road-wide sheet, down onto the sand.
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The tread-tracked machine is electrically-powered, and has few moving parts, so noise and maintenance are kept to a minimum. It stays on course thanks to built-in sensors, which follow the curbs. According to Vanku, a machine with two operators can pave at least 300 square meters (3,229 sq.ft.) of road per day, whereas a single conventional paver on their hands and knees manages between 75 and 100.
The Tiger Stone is available in four, five and six-meter (13, 16 and 20-foot) widths, and costs from €60,000 to €80,000 (US$81,485 to $108,655). There’s no doubt that a lot of home-owners would like to see a much smaller version, that they could rent for creating garden paths and patios.