An Australian robot built a three-bedroom, two-bathroom brick house in three days this week.
The robotic arm worked from a 3D model to complete the fully automated* project for Perth-based company FBR.
The company (formerly known as Fastbrick Robotics) said engineers* confirmed that the structure, which was completed on Monday in Western Australia, met required building standards.
An essential* part of the project is a truck the company designed called Hadrian X. It is loaded with pre-cut bricks and driven to the construction site, where a laser-guided robotic attachment feeds blocks through an arm and continuously places them into position.
“We now have the world’s only fully automated, end-to-end bricklaying solution, with a massive market waiting for it,” chief executive Mike Pivac said.
Hadrian X had previously built smaller structures in FBR’s Perth headquarters.
VIDEO: This is a computer-generated demonstration of an earlier FBR robotic bricklayer
The price of FBR shares* on the Australian Stock Exchange* increased by 18 per cent on Wednesday, which shows people would like to invest in the company, which will now expand to other countries that want to use the technology.
“We now begin the next exciting phase for the company,” Mr Pivac said.
FBR said it has partnered with Wienerberger — the world’s largest producer of bricks — as well as striking* an agreement with big machinery company Caterpillar in Saudi Arabia.
The project could improve safety by taking the heavy lifting off labourers*, while its accuracy should reduce waste by better managing materials.
The bricks are laid quickly and the Hadrian X allows builders to pre-make other parts of a building because they know that the brickwork will be exactly as the plans show it should be. The accuracy of the build, as well as the adhesive* used in place of mortar*, cuts power bills by making it thermally* and acoustically* efficient, the company said.
FBR has plans to provide fast construction to disaster-ravaged* areas around the world.
And despite doing a job traditionally done by skilled tradespeople, the company believes it will have a minimal effect on jobs.
“The whole concept of this technology came around because there was a shortage of bricklayers,” a spokesman said.
“The challenge for the bricklaying industry is that it is hard work on the body — it’s not a career people typically have for a very long time.”
automated: programmed to do the task without humans
engineers: design and construct experts
shares: part ownership of a company
Australian Stock Exchange: the organisation that people buy and sell shares through
striking: deciding on
adhesive: glue or mortar
mortar: cement-like adhesive that sticks bricks together
thermally: to do with heat
acoustically: to do with sound
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
1. How many days did it take?
2. What is Hadrian X?
3. Has Hadrian X ever made anything before?
4. Why does this technique allow other parts of the building to be pre-made?
5. Why does the company think it is no threat to bricklayers’ jobs?
According to the article there are lots of benefits of this new bricklaying robot.
Make a list of how using this bricklaying robot could be beneficial in the construction industry.
Write a list of questions you have about the use of this robot.
Can you see any possible problems with using this technology? List these as well.
Curriculum links: English, Technologies — Design and Technologies
Time: Allow 20 minutes
Extension: Imagine you on the sales team at FBR. You are trying to sell your bricklaying robots to construction companies. Use information from the article to write a sales pitch that you could present to each company to persuade them to purchase the bricklaying robot. Make sure you mention all the benefits of using the bricklaying robot instead of skilled tradespeople. Practice giving your sales pitch with expression. When you are ready present it to your class.
Curriculum links: English, The Arts — Drama, Technology — Design and Technologies
Time: Allow 30 minutes
With a partner see if you can you identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.
Try to replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.
HAVE YOUR SAY: If you built a robot, what job do you think it should do? Why? Use full sentences. No one-word answers.