Construction Robotics is changing the way construction is done. It has always been inevitable that robotics technology would enter into dangerous industries to increase safety and productivity, but many people still view it as a futuristic phenomenon. Grit Daily caught up with Scott Peters, President and co-founder of Construction Robotics to talk about SAM and MULE, their construction assistive devices that have already changed expectations within the industry.
Their Semi-Automated Mason (SAM), a brick-laying machine, is the first piece of robotic equipment used on commercial job sites to be operated by masons. MULE, short for Material Unit Life Enhancer, can make blocks weighing up to 150 pounds feel weightless. Both pieces of technology can work off of scaffold, require some training and were created with the end users in mind.
Construction Robotics created the mapping software for SAM from scratch. “We had to make it very easy to use, very intuitive,” because many masons had been working off of paper. The software allows a mason to create a wall in a matter of minutes by simply inputting the dimensions, where windows will be placed, etc. Training for SAM takes about 3 days, while MULE can be learned in a matter of minutes. Peters explains, “We have a robust implementation process because that’s one of the keys to success, and a big part of implementation may be thinking about your job differently.”
When asked about pushback from the construction workers themselves, Peters explained that there was some fear among workers that a Terminator-like robot would walk off the truck and make their skills obsolete. On the contrary, Peters believes that these types of technologies can diversify the industry by allowing more women to participate and “take the back-breaking work out of construction.”
The lift-enhancing MULE is already starting to change the industry by creating demand for double-sized blocks.