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Will Bricklaying Robots Transform the Construction Industry?

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Over the last few decades, robotics have dominated processes and production means of such industries as automotive or agriculture. The use of automation and other types of robotic technologies is well-poised to revolutionise other industries, too – with construction being no exception. 

Indeed, a recent report recommended Australia should double its pace of artificial intelligence and robotics automation in order to reap a $2.2 trillion opportunity for the country's economy by 2030.

But what exactly does robotics in the construction industry look like, and what benefits could it bring to workers in the industry?

But what exactly does robotics in the construction industry look like, and what benefits could it bring to workers in the industry? 

Jobsite ANZ spoke with Fastbrick Robotics Limited (ASX:FBR), a Western-Australia based robotic technology company that specialises in developing and commercialising digital construction technology solutions. The company’s globally patented technology, a bricklaying robot called Hadrian X, is a machine that will be capable of laying upwards of 1,000 bricks per hour. 

“While the Hadrian X is currently our only project in development, we see many industries and areas that will require high-level accuracy and real-time compensation when using robots outside of controlled environments,” Fastbricks Robotics commented in a statement.

Eliminating Inefficiencies and Injury

When asked how robotic technology will transform the construction industry, Fastbricks Robotics focused on the elimination of inefficiencies.

“The construction industry is one that is fraught with inefficiencies and risks. As such, Fastbrick Robotics has taken a five-pronged approach in the development of our technology – focusing on an increase in safety, speed and accuracy, and a decrease in cost and wastage.”

It also noted that one of the key aims of robotic technology is to help eliminate the risk of injury on the jobsite. 

It also noted that one of the key aims of robotic technology is to help eliminate the risk of injury on the jobsite. Safe Work Australia notes that 27 people experienced fatal injury on construction sites in 2016 alone in Australia, and this statistic may hopefully be reduced thanks to robotic technologies.

“Bricklayers are among the workers most susceptible to injury on a construction site,” said Fastbricks Robotics. 

“The repetitive lifting of heavy objects and twisting of the body, combined with prolonged exposure to UV and other environmental elements, means that the instance of injury is very high when compared to other trades.”

Machines such as the Hadrian X take away labour-intensive and often dangerous work, and enable the bricklayer to take up a role as site supervisor or machine operator. In a climate like Australia, often prone to extreme heat, relief from the physically-demanding experience of bricklaying is particularly sought after.

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