Hadrian’s Wall is 73 miles of brick wall marking the boundary of Roman Britain. It divided Britannia from the unconquered Caledonia to the north of it for the centuries during which Rome ruled what is now England. It still stands today, and is a World Heritage site, so it should continue to stand far into the future.
It’s certainly one of the most famous walls in the world. So it makes sense that a new bricklaying robot should be named after it.
Hadrian’s wall is built of stone blocks which we might not today call bricks. Hadrian-X also uses cut blocks rather than traditional bricks, though it can also build with bricks. It coats the blocks with adhesive rather than laying down mortar.
The Hadrian-X automated bricklaying machine can build a wall at the astonishing rate of 300 blocks per hour. It has managed 500 in an hour at least once, and its makers, Fastback Robotics, expect it to reach that speed or more in the future. For perspective, human bricklayers usually lay 300-500 bricks in a full day. Hadrian-X is significantly faster. It can build a house — or at least the brick part — in a day.
Humans need to load up the bricks, but the Hadrian-X transports them to the site with a 32′ boom which allows building upper stories.
Benefits of automated bricklaying
Speed is an obvious advantage of the system, but worker safety is another benefit. Bricklaying can include myriad dangers, from crushing and eye injuries to electrocution and lacerations from flying blade fragments. Hadrian-X solves these issues. Even the cutting of the blocks is automated.
Since it works directly from design files, Hadrian-X avoids misunderstanding and misinterpretation, not to mention differences in measurements from one country to another. The precision helps avoid problems in collaboration and reduces waste.
Hadrian-X can work all night, too. It doesn’t need light. This not only is another way of increasing speed, but it also helps to cut costs.
Admittedly, one way Hadrian-X will cut costs is by taking over the jobs of human bricklayers. Humans may still be needed to do special, artisanal types of bricklaying and to oversee Hadrian-X’s work, but there will be fewer humans needed.
Human bricklayers may not be happy just loading up the bricks for Hadrian-X. This job probably belongs on the list of jobs threatened by the rise of robots.