The Robot That’s Building Success One Brick At A Time

  • Article by Amy Bradney-George
  • June 29, 2015 at 4:28 PM

While bricklayers labour away for weeks and weeks on construction sites, a Perth robot is breaking new ground with its capacity to lay up to 1000 bricks an hour.

Meet “Hadrian”, a robotic bricklaying machine that can work around the clock, and potentially build 150 homes a year. Named after the ancient Roman defensive wall, Hadrian was designed by Western Australian engineer Mark Pivac in 2005 after he witnessed the Perth bricklaying crisis and decided to come up with a new solution to bricklaying delays.

While brick-laying robotics have been around for a while, Pivac’s is the first fully automated option. The official website – Fastbrick Robotics – says it’s also “the world’s first globally patented and commercially viable 3D Robotic bricklaying system”.

In an interview with PerthNow, Pivac says that it was only a matter of time before someone invented a robot like Hadrian, which could change the entire building industry.

“People have been laying bricks for about 6000 years and ever since the industrial revolution, they have tried to automate the bricklaying process,” he says.

“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.”

While still in a testing phase, Hadrian has an impressive resume, with a June investor presentation suggesting it could save the construction industry around $120 billion in “labour inefficiencies, wasted materials and miscommunication” and could construct a house in a fraction of the average time expected today.

“Developed to construct an average house, from slab to cap height, in 1-2 days.”

Pivac’s designs and construction of Hadrian have had support from a range of sources, including federal government grants, Dale Alcock and “a major Australian brick manufacturer”.

Now, major investment company DMY Capital Limited has also announced its conditional acquisition of Fastbrick Robotics, showing further belief in Hadrian’s capabilities.

In a release from DMY Capital Limited about the upcoming acquisition, Dale Alcock – who is working as an advisor on the deal – says this robotic system could be a solution to Australia’s housing supply issues, among other things.

“Housing affordability in Australia is of critical importance and is at the centre of political debate. Whilst most agree that increasing supply is a realistic and logical solution, further consideration must be given to how we go about achieving this in more cost-effective and efficient ways,” he explains.

“Australia’s Fastbrick Robotics is at the forefront of construction automation and its innovative robotic bricklaying technology has the potential to service the overwhelming demand for housing, quicker and cheaper than ever before.”

At this stage, Hadrian is set for commercialisation in Western Australia first, before being launched nationally and internationally.

Images: Screenshots from Fastbrick Robotics website.

Hadrian plans

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