AU Company Rolls Out Bricklaying Robot


A next-generation bricklaying robot from Australian startup FBR is reportedly capable of building a tennis-court-sized wall in just four hours.

According to a report from New Atlas, the Hadrian X is a truck-mounted system with a 105-foot-long boom arm that can precisely lay up to 300 large masonry blocks per hour.

FBR (formerly Fastbrick Robotics) released the initial excavator-mounted Hadrian prototype in 2015, but this updated version is reportedly preparing its commercial rollout after rounds of testing.

How Hadrian X Works

According to a report from Design & Make with Autodesk, the Hadrian X features three main components: a control system, a block-delivery system and a dynamic stabilization system.

“The challenge is making sure all these systems come together—that they’re highly coordinated, there’s strong choreography between all the modules within the robot, and that we can clearly manage all the environmental issues that sit around a dirty, dangerous construction site,” said Simon Amos, director of construction technologies at FBR.

The process reportedly begins with workers loading masonry blocks into the back of the truck. From there, Hadrian X’s robots unpack the blocks and cut them down to the appropriate size with a circular saw. The blocks are then fed into a boom-transport system and moved to a layhead, where the bricks are then coated with a special construction adhesive that reportedly bonds faster and holds stronger than traditional mortar.

Finally, the blocks are automatically laid in place based on logic and the pattern programmed into the machine through Cartesian coordinates and CAD-based wall models. The robot’s telescoping arm is reportedly capable of reaching up to three stories from the ground.

For the Hadrian X, FBR reportedly designed its own blocks that are 12 times larger than a standard brick to maximize lay rate. FBR reports that Hadrian X is capable of laying one block every 45 to 55 seconds.

FBR also reportedly developed a patented Dynamic Stabilization Technology, which can account for wind, vibration and other environmental factors to accurately lay the blocks in their precise locations.

FBR says that it performed numerous tests of the Hadrian system components over the past years, with each testing phase revealing lessons and potential improvements. In November 2018, the company says that the Hadrian X completed a 180-square-meter home within three days, and in 2019, outdoor testing during the peak of Australia’s summer was completed.

“A lot of this was about really challenging the robot: putting it out into a fairly aggressive, hostile wind and temperature curve and seeing what it did,” said Amos

Next Steps

According to FBR, the third-generation Hadrian X is in production, and procurement is underway for three more as outdoor testing of the robot continues.

FBR has reportedly already partnered with building products supplier Brickworks to deliver “Wall as a Service” (WaaS) in Australia. The company says that Brickworks will supply special concrete masonry blocks for FBR’s Hadrian robot to build the walls, with a current focus on residential projects.

Additionally, the company reportedly has signed agreements with the residential division of one of Mexico’s largest construction companies to explore pilot programs in the country, as well as a memorandum of understanding with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to discuss a project that involves building 50,000 new homes. Another partnership with an Austrian-based clay-block manufacturer, to create optimized clay blocks for Hadrian X and plan a pilot project in Europe, is reportedly in place.

FBR also says that it will soon be sending versions of the Hadrian X to the U.S. for demonstrations, with the goal of employing the robots the FBR’s expansion of its WaaS offering in Florida.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Brick; Concrete masonry units (CMU); Construction; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Equipment manufacturers; Latin America; Masonry; North America; PaintSquare; PaintSquare App - Commercial; Program/Project Management; Research and development; Robotics; Technology; Tools & Equipment - Commercial; Wall; Walls; Z-Continents

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