Monthly Archives: November 2019

How Robots Are Changing the Construction Industry | Fortune

Along the banks of Lake Michigan, 20 masons lay bricks for a huge dorm, as big as three football fields, at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. Compared with those in years past, these workers are doing far less laying and “buttering” and, instead, are focused on quality and on cleaning up mortar joints.

A robot named SAM handles the real grunt work.

SAM, a clawlike metal arm extending from a cage, moves back and forth along the walls, buttering and layering a brick every eight to 12 seconds. Nearby, another robot called MULE uses a burly 12-foot arm to lift heavy cement blocks for workers, who then guide them into place.

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Robotics in Construction: Automating Onsite Construction With CR

There are many companies pushing the limits of the possibility of robotics in construction. One such company is Construction Robotics. Construction Robotics (CR) was founded in 2007 with the goal of developing affordable, leading-edge robotics and automation equipment for the construction industry. Construction Robotics’ first and flagship product is SAM100 (Semi-Autonomous Mason), a bricklaying robot for onsite and prefabricated masonry construction. SAM is designed to work with a mason, assisting with the repetitive and strenuous task of lifting and placing each brick. The mason continues to own the site setup and final wall quality, but with improved efficiency through the operation of SAM.

SAM can be thought of as a mobile prefabrication lab for brickwork. Builders can use SAM to build walls offsite or bring SAM on-site to get prefab quality while reducing shipping costs.

SAM in conjunction with CR’s 3D brick mapping software streamlines the building process from digital design to fabrication. The software automatically corrects for any variation in the as-built dimensions, allowing masons to resolve problems before beginning production. Complex and custom patterns can easily be executed by SAM.

SAM is constantly capturing and uploading a variety of data points, including the number, size, and placement of each brick, the date, time, and temperature, the mortar slump, bed gap, ambient RH, and more. CR’s software provides a real-time feed that allows for the monitoring of daily progress from anywhere and at any time, with detailed analytics displaying SAM’s performance.


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Robot Masons Work With Humans on a $52 Million Housing Project in Illinois | bdcnetwork

A 166,000-sf barracks with 300 bedrooms for 600 military personnel are under construction at the Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois with the help of robots that can lay bricks every seven to 10 seconds and can lift and place foundation blocks weighing up to 135 lbs.

This $52 million project, started last March and scheduled for completion in October 2020, represents the debut of semi-robotic construction for the general contractor Clark Construction Group. Construction Robotics, a Victor, N.Y.-based manufacturer that launched in 2007, is providing the machines, which are called MULE (for Material Unit Lift Enhancer) and SAM (for Semiautomated Mason). Blinderman Construction is Clark’s partner on this project.

This is also the first construction project in the country to use MULE and SAM technology in tandem.


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