Fastbrick Robotics is shaking up the construction industry with its bricklaying robot, Hadrian X—the groudbreaking construction robot that works 15 to 20 times faster than human workers.
In 2016, the Hadrian 105, the predecessor for the Hadrian X, built the world’s first multi-room brick house using 3D printing technology—without the need for human intervention. Two years later, the Hadrian X built a three-bedroom, two bathroom home in under three days.
“What we have achieved here is a quantum leap for the construction industry,” said Mike Pivac, CEO and managing director of Fastbrick Robotics (FBR), in an announcement by the company.
“We are excited by the performance and results, given this work was completed in test speed and for the very first time. This points to the massive potential for the technology and FBR’s ability to shape the way the construction industry operates in the future.”
In 1994, Mark Pivac, Mike’s cousin and executive director and chief technology officer of Fastbrick Robotics, first came up with the idea of creating a mobile dynamically-stabilised robot.
Prior to Mark’s innovative technology, environmental factors prohibited most robotic technologies from being able to fully function outdoors. The Dynamic Stabilisation Technology (DST) system measures wind, vibration and other environmental factors 2000 times per second, enabling precise positioning that was previously only possible with indoor robots.
“I invented DST™ to solve the problem of stabilising a robot at the end of a long moving boom, originally for an application that didn’t have enough demand to justify its development cost,” Mark said on the company’s website. “A decade later, a building boom converged with a shortage of bricklayers, driving the cost of laying a brick up to $1.25. I knew my idea’s time had come.”
The company’s Fastbrick Wall System also uses bricks that are about 12 times larger than standard house bricks while also being lighter, stronger and designed to limit waste. The blocks use a special bonding agent that dries in only 45 minutes; they are also stronger and have greater thermal and acoustic properties than traditional mortar.
Entities around the world are also excited to utilise the construction robot. In 2017, Fastbrick Robotics signed an agreement with the government of Saudi Arabia to use Hadrian X to construct a minimum of 50,000 new homes, with a target of 1.5 million homes to be built throughout the country.
“Fastbrick will be seeking out other countries, organisations and parties around the world who are interested in being early adopters of Fastbrick’s technology,” Mike was quoted as saying in the announcement.
To reach the ambitious goal of 1.5 million homes by 2022, the project would require 100 Hadrian X robots.
“Fastbrick’s robotic bricklaying technology provides a unique solution to assist the [Kingdom of Saudia Arabia] in meeting its demand for new housing, while increasing housing quality, lowering construction costs, creating local jobs, providing skilled employment opportunities, increasing productivity in a harsh environment and bringing new construction innovation to the country,” the announcement stated.
“Saudi Arabia is united with Fastbrick’s vision of improving the safety, speed, accuracy, cost and waste management in the global construction industry, through utilising the world’s latest innovations in mobile robotic technology.”
Although strategic business consulting firm EY-Panthenon has estimated that only 150,000 Hadrian X robots would be needed to replace all construction jobs globally, the company argues that the robot would help people pursue better jobs.
“We’re … helping people transition into smarter jobs, safer jobs,” Mike explained. “Jobs that people can actually work in until they retire.”