In a dazzling demonstration of technology’s power to reshape the construction industry, the Hadrian X bricklaying robot strides onto the scene, masquerading as an ordinary truck. Once on-site, it undergoes a miraculous transformation, unfurling a colossal 32-meter (105-foot) boom arm and proceeding to lay up to 300 large masonry blocks every hour artfully. The sheer precision and speed at which it operates are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The journey of this extraordinary Australian innovation commenced in 2015 when it was nothing more than an excavator-mounted prototype. Even in its nascent stages, it exhibited the remarkable ability to construct the brick framework for an entire house in two days, a feat that left human bricklayers trailing far behind. The genius behind this game-changing technology is Fastbrick Robotics, now known as FBR, the architect of the Hadrian X.
Fast-forward to 2023, and the Hadrian X is taking its first steps into the commercial realm. FBR has unveiled its inaugural “next-gen” Hadrian-X system, and during its maiden outdoor test build, it not only met but shattered expectations. During its testing and calibration run, the robot consistently laid over 300 USA-format masonry blocks each hour.
When you extrapolate this remarkable rate to the most significant blocks the Hadrian X can handle—massive 45-kg (99-lb) blocks measuring 600 x 400 x 300 mm (23.6 x 15.7 x 11.8 in)—you’re left with a machine capable of erecting roughly 70 square meters (753 square feet) of vertical wall every hour, equivalent to a quarter of a tennis court. Notably, FBR envisions that its maximum speed will soon soar to 500 blocks per hour.
Upon arrival at a construction site, the Hadrian X is guided by a tablet, meticulously adhering to a CAD plan. Workers load masonry blocks onto the truck in pallet loads. Specialized “dehacker” robots step in to unpack and trim these blocks to size, if needed, using a circular saw.
The prepared blocks are then sent through the boom arm, one at a time, where they are expertly affixed using a unique construction adhesive in lieu of traditional mortar. In just 45 minutes, these blocks are securely in place and completely dry. The Hadrian X’s telescopic boom arm is impressively long, allowing it to construct three-story structures from ground level without requiring a ladder, and it can operate around the clock, even in various weather conditions.
Regarding the final result, while the first outdoor test build revealed some imperfections in brick placement, it’s important to bear in mind that this was the maiden voyage of the next-gen robot. These initial kinks are likely to be swiftly ironed out as the technology matures.
FBR is already in the process of constructing a second and third robot, with the initial units on the brink of heading to the USA. These robots will serve as powerful demonstrators and bolster FBR’s Florida-based “Wall as a Service” business, solidifying the Hadrian X’s position as a game-changer in the future of construction.