AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

World’s Largest Brick Maker Uses Masonry Robot to Build Brick House

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Wienerberger AG, the Austrian-based construction materials corporation, announced that the first house has been completed using the Hadrian X masonry robot, which was developed by the Australian robotics firm, Fastbrick Robotics (FBR). The house was built in Wellard, Australia, with Porotherm bricks produced by Wienerberger, which is the largest brick manufacturer in the world.

Hadrian X utilizes FBR’s Dynamic Stabilization Technology (DST) to account in real time for disturbances, like ground vibrations and wind. In turn, this allows the Hadrian X to perform optimally outdoors, laying bricks according to CAD models at a rate the company claims allows it to complete a home build in as little 1 to 3 days.

In a press release announcing the completion of the build, Heimo Scheuch, Wienerberger’s CEO, commented, “…[W]e want to contribute toward ensuring that future generations enjoy the same opportunities as we do today. …As a leading international provider of building material and infrastructure solutions, our proposition is not only to offer products of first-rate quality, but also to be as resource-efficient as possible in their production.”

Wienerberger and FBR originally signed a partnership agreement in 2018 for precisely the purpose achieved by the Australian residence: Wienerberger’s development of bricklaying solutions using the Hadrian X, which could ultimately be deployed for residential projects. While not an additive construction (AC) application, there is clear crossover potential with AC, and firms that are involved in the AC sector also seem to be broadly interested in all digitized building technologies.

Wienerberger, itself, seems to be a longtime user of 3D printing for prototyping purposes. It’s not clear if the company plans to explicitly enter the AC sector, but FBR’s DST system could presumably be just as useful to cement-extruding robots, as it is to something like the Hadrian X. Or, what might be an even more practical solution: bricks could be printed at a central location to be assembled into homes, on-sight, by bricklaying robots.

Finally, it will be interesting to see if political developments concerning the AC sector will reverberate on general digitized construction. It would seem like the recent broad granting of approval by Montana’s state government for walls produced with AC would also pave the way for an increasing presence of machines like the Hadrian X. If this turns out to be the case, we could start seeing, sooner rather than later, the emergence of crossover applications that lead to a more general, automated construction sector, incorporating a broad range of advanced technologies.

Images courtesy of Fastbrick Robotics

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