BRICK-E – University of Cambridge, Student Design Project

BRICK-E is a robot designed to reduce the skilled labour requirement in brick laying. With this semi-automated device, unskilled workers can construct brick walls autonomously at low cost. Unlike existing brick laying robots, BRICK-E completes all tasks required to build a straight wall by travelling on top of the wall. This allows it to be cheaper, lighter and more compact.

In the UK, there is expected to be a shortage of 244,000 brick layers by 2020. In Australia, the shortage has driven up the cost of labour to an average of $100,000 a year. Using BRICK-E to replace a skilled worker with an unskilled worker, even at current wages, will result in substantial cost-savings.

The robot will lay both cement and bricks requiring the worker to simply perform a set up and feed supplies. At a length of 80cm and weighing less than 25kg, a single worker can position BRICK-E with ease. By using a unique spacing structure, BRICK-E is able to bypass the traditional constraints on build speed imposed by cement drying. Carrying the load through the spacers rather than the cement, a given construction project can progress at a rate much beyond the typical 6 rows per day. As such, not only will it be cheaper, but also faster than relying on traditional work methods.

BRICK-E will be sold or leased to construction companies. This will enable a developmental relationship in the initial stages of bringing it to market. There are also opportunities to distribute BRICK-E through DIY stores where individuals could rent the equipment as needed.

Team: Maximillian Schinke, Gina Curwen, Hugo Sloper.

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