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Robotic brickie way of future

A WORLD-FIRST robotic bricklaying machine that slashes the time it takes to build a home has earned its creators in Walliston the title of West Australian Innovator of the Year.

Fastbrick Robotics Operations Manager Gary Paull said the Hadrian X, named after the Roman emperor who built a wall across northern England, could build a home in three days at a lower cost and to a higher quality than traditional methods.

“Mark Pivac developed the technology 10 years ago, but there was no application for it so he shelved it,” he said.

“It was not until 2006 when there was a bricklayers’ shortage, just prior to the global financial crisis, Mark thought he could apply the technology to a machine that would alleviate the shortage of brickies and volatility in the market.”

Fastbrick Robotics chief executive officer Mike Pivac and his cousin Mark Pivac said the Hadrian X had the potential to revolutionise the worldwide construction industry.

Mark, the primary inventor of Fastbrick’s automated bricklaying technology, said the company aimed to roll the Hadrian X off the presses in the final quarter of 2017.

“We have had interest from across the globe, particularly America, Germany and Europe,” he said.

“We have also had a lot of interest from low-income countries because this technology will make it cheaper to build houses.

“Using local products, we conservatively estimate it will reduce the cost of building a new home in Perth by at least 10 per cent.”

Mike Pivac said currently the global construction market accounted for nearly $9 trillion dollars of commercial activity and that number will almost double in the next 15 years.

“And with another two to three billion people expected to inhabit the planet over the next 30 years, there has never been a better time for an automated 3D construction system like the Hadrian X to make its mark.

“We are pioneering a frontier technology where only risk takers dare to tread, and where great rewards lay in wait.

“The future is exciting for Fastbrick Robotics, and we plan to be involved in the 3D automated construction space, as well as the technological industry as a whole, for many years to come.”

Mr Paull said the Walliston-based company had grown to be one of the biggest mechatronic employers in WA.

“We’re looking to build the first machines here in Western Australia, but we are also looking for global partnerships to manufacture overseas,” he said.

“Nowhere in the world has a system like this been developed.

“Hadrian X is like a giant 3D printer but instead of using plastic it uses bricks.

“Our laser guidance system means the printer is accurate to 0.5mm giving it a competitive advantage, including savings in time and costs plus better quality and safety of construction.”

But Mr Paull said the machine’s future application did not mean bricklayers were destined for extinction.

“Good bricklayers will always have work and we intend on employing quality bricklayers,” he said.

“The benefit of the Hadrian X is that it can lift heavier weights and can work day and night if need be.”

Innovation Minister Bill Marmion presented the $75,000 Innovator of the Year award to Fastbrick Robotics.

He congratulated the company for their creativity and commercial insight in developing the Hadrian X.

“This organisation is now on the cusp of commercialising the world’s first truck-mounted, fully automated end-to-end 3D bricklaying machine – the invention truly unites innovation and science.”

The awards recognise innovative products that demonstrate economic, social and environmental benefits to WA.

By Sarah Brookes

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