Tarmac participates in Europe’s first lifting robotics trial
Published by Lucy Stewardson,
Tarmac is taking part in a trial led by John Sisk & Son to become the first in Europe to introduce lifting robotics to a construction site. Known as a Material Unit Lift Enhancer (MULE), the robotic arm, which was created by New York-based Construction Robotics, is in operation at Sisk’s Wembley Park E05 site in London.
Tarmac has also collaborated with Sisk and Construction Robotics to develop an innovative aggregate block, 890 mm long, which is twice as large as a standard 100 mm thick concrete block. A trained construction worker can manually handle the large blocks into place using the MULE’s specifically designed grip, which was also created by Tarmac, Sisk, and Construction Robotics.
The new technology is being used in the construction of a multi-storey car park comprising 140 car bays, 650 bicycle spaces, 77 coach bays, and 202 accessible parking bays. The car park will form the base of a new residential development next to the Wembley Stadium, offering 458 ‘Build to Rent’ apartments managed by Tipi. Sisk also intends to roll out the MULE across its other construction projects in Ireland and the UK in the coming months. The company has invested more than £136 000 as part of its commitment to enhance productivity on its sites and to minimise health and safety risks to its workforce.
The MULE is a lift assist device designed for handling and articulating material weighing up to 134 lb into place on a construction site. The company has stated that the tool allows the material to feel weightless, reduces fatigue and injuries, and increases productivity by between 50 and 400%. It has been noted that it will not replace bricklayers or masons, but will rather improve their working conditions, enabling them to focus on other aspects, such as the pointing of brickwork. In addition, special oversized blocks have been created for the Wembley trial, developed to increase productivity while using the device.
“I am delighted to announce that Sisk now has a fully operational MULE at our Wembley Park site,” said Steve Bowcott, CEO of Sisk. “At Sisk, we are always looking at new, innovative ways to enhance productivity and make conditions safer for our workforce. This development demonstrates that Sisk is a leader in terms of the introduction of construction solutions to construction projects, and we look forward to utilising this tool across our other sites in Ireland and the UK very soon.”
“There are significant opportunities to continue improving the performance of the construction industry through the development of new technologies and innovations,” said Andrew Campling, Product Line Director of Aggregate Blocks at Tarmac Building Products. “We are delighted to be part of this pioneering collaborative trial, which has the potential to be a game changer for our sector. Alongside the opportunity to increase efficiency rates and remove the amount of manual handling required, there are important safety and wellbeing benefits, as heavy lifting is carried out by this robotic tool.”
“We are excited to be working with Sisk to bring the MULE technology to the UK to benefit the health of the worker and to add to the construction markets through new methods of improving productivity for installing block materials,” said Scott Peters, President and Co-founder of Construction Robotics. “Sisk’s leadership to search out and its investment to adapt technologies has led to a 12 month partnership to get the first Construction Robotics MULE technology outside of North America for application in the Wembley Park E05 project. Its team of experts worked with our engineers to develop a new larger block format and a custom MULE gripper to take advantage of the MULE lifting capacity. This system can be used across many types of construction in the UK. We are excited to be part of the Sisk team and see great opportunities to advance construction with technology.”
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/06092019/tarmac-participates-in-europes-first-lifting-robotics-trial/
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