Robotics

Caterpillar backs bricklaying robot with $2 million investment

Caterpillar has invested US$2 million into Fastbrick Robotics, the company behind the bricklaying robot, Hadrian X
Caterpillar has invested US$2 million into Fastbrick Robotics, the company behind the bricklaying robot, Hadrian X
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Caterpillar has invested US$2 million into Fastbrick Robotics, the company behind the bricklaying robot, Hadrian X
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Caterpillar has invested US$2 million into Fastbrick Robotics, the company behind the bricklaying robot, Hadrian X

The world is another step closer to a bricklaying robot that can build the framework of a house in less than three days. Caterpillar has invested US$2 million in Fastbrick Robotics, the Australian company behind the builder bot.

Named Hadrian X, the quick-laying bricklayer is built on a 30 m (98 ft) boom arm attached to a truck. A 3D CAD model of the house is fed into the system, and following those instructions, the robot is able to cut and place up to 1,000 bricks per hour, taking into account doors, windows, features and channels for electrical wiring and plumbing. Thin bed mortar or other adhesives are delivered through the boom head.

Originally unveiled in 2015, the system has caught the attention of construction company Caterpillar, which has just partnered with Fastbrick through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The two companies will collaborate on the development, manufacturing, sales and services of the bricklaying technology, with a newly established strategic alliance board determining the best ways to get Hadrian into the hands of construction customers in different countries.

Caterpillar has agreed to invest $2 million into the technology, with the option to throw in an extra $8 million down the track if Fastbrick's shareholders approve. According to a financial report released in April, the first commercial versions of Hadrian X are due to be delivered by the end of 2017.

See Hadrian X in action in the video below.

Source: Fastbrick Robotics

Fastbrick Robotics: World Leaders In Digital Construction Robotics

10 comments
VincentWolf
That's all we need crumbly weak dangerous brick homes in earthquake regions.
MK23666
Did I miss the part where they said they will build these homes in earthquake prone areas without following the earthquake building codes of the area?
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I am seventy years old and I have never seen a brick house being built!
ljaques
In a time when we need to put people to work, due to tens of millions being out of work, this seems untimely but cool tech. I wonder about windy day accuracy with a long boom like that, and wonder how they place the head. M is right, V can build with nice and sustainable straw bales, and D can watch bricks being laid on djYoutube.
MartinVoelker
Bricklayer is one the top most dangerous and potentially debilitating professions, according to German statistics I just looked up. The workers move heavy bricks and two thirds of the time do so at uncomfortable, ergonomically bad level (ie. bending low or stretching up) before their platform is raised. Also, in the US few people are aware of the hollow high tech bricks used all over Europe today with superb insulation capacity and larger size, leading to fewer gaps and thermal bridging. Regarding earthquakes: Hollow bricks are much safer than solid bricks especially when used with proper building techniques like creating shear walls.
Ralf Biernacki
@Vincent: That's right, because frame houses are so much sturdier /sarcasm. It takes a real big earthquake to bring down a solidly built brick house, but only a modest tornado to shred a frame house to kindling. Which of the two happens more frequently? Wanna guess why there are no tornado shelters in Europe? Seriously, there are massive brick castles and slender brick cathedrals all over about half of Europe (in the regions where close-by stone is not available) that have been standing for twice as long as any building in the US, through earthquakes, city fires, and artillery shellings. This is a long-lasting construction technology, which is probably the real reason it is unpopular in America---why build a house that can stand for 500 years, when you can build one good for 50 years?
SaysMe
No mortar? There is a robotic brick and mortar machine but it can only do straight wall sections....big and cumbersome....
Riaanh
Brilliant! Another few thousand poor guys to the unemployment line and bigger profits to the rich guys.
toyhouse
A new way of building that I doubt is ever going to go away. On another note; earthquake zones don't behave the same everywhere. The ground on which homes are built within them, is not the same everywhere. Nor do tornado prone zones exist everywhere. And that's why - it's good to have choices. Choices for different environments and choices matching economic needs, etc.. The masses can't afford to have castle construction. Brick houses might be better in tornado prone areas but in high earthquake prone zones, maybe/maybe not. One county in California experienced three earthquakes last week alone. What is the toll on brickwork under those repeated conditions? I'm not currently convinced it's the best and most economic building method in those places having seen the consequences of brick failure in 6 plus earthquakes - with future higher earthquakes foretasted. The only way to make it safe would be to spend a fair amount of money to build it safe. I've also seen wood structure failures. But no one wants to be near a brick building with any amount of failure coming down on their head. Lastly, hollow brick construction in various forms, has been around for decades world-wide. Nothing new.
-dphiBbydt
The whole point about bricks is that they are sized so they are comfortable for a human to manipulate. If you have a robot then you don't need bricks. The robots can handle larger material so buildings can be built even quicker with far greater integrity, especially in the event of an earthquake.
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