A bricklayer’s job is probably one of the toughest going around. Unforgiving work, undertaken under a belting hot sun with a poorly paid apprenticeship, it is no wonder brickies are known for loving a schooner.
Yet they could find their jobs stolen over the next few years, and no, it is not because the Australian government is relaxing its immigration policy…
Meet Hadrian, a robot that has a laying speed of 1000 bricks per hour. Named after the Roman wall built in northern England to keep out the Geordies and Scottish, Hadrian can therefore work 20 times faster than an average human brickie.
It does not sleep, or eat, and most definitely does not need multiple smoking breaks. Manual labourers watch out.
Perth engineers are responsible for the amazing piece of tech, creating a machine that can lay down the brick framework of a house in just two days.
Instead of a loveable tradie’s human heart, Hadrian boasts a 28-metre telescopic boom. It will be mounted on a truck in its final form, allowing greater movement. The robot uses information from a 3D computer-aided design of the home, with mortar pushed under pressure towards the head of the boom. It also corrects itself 1000 times a second.
Fastbrick Robotics are reportedly ready to launch the first commercial model sometime in 2016.
Chief executive Mike Pivac claims Hadrian will reduce construction of a standard home by six weeks, will cut down on waste and emissions as well improving safety.
“Due to the high level of accuracy we achieve, most other components like kitchens and bathrooms and roof trusses can be manufactured in parallel and simply fitted as soon as the bricklaying is completed.”
Pivac quoted that the average age of a bricklayer in Australia in nearly 50, and said the new technology will help create jobs instead of replacing them.
“[Hadrian] should attract young people back to bricklaying, as robotics is seen as an attractive technology,” he said.
We are not too sure whether the average bricklayer will be too keen on learning about robotics, especially as a drawcard of being a brickie is working outdoors. Whether there would be crash courses for current brickies to skill-up in the new tech is also unknown.
It is probably worth noting that Hadrian cannot build a house, just lay down the walls. And with $7 million invested, this tech will probably not come cheap in the short-term.
Also, following the death of a German worker at the (hands?) of a robot last month in a Volkswagen production plant in Baunatal, Germany, it does not seem like a good time to give robots bricks.
It does look pretty damn cool in this animation, however.