Robotic lifting makes giant blocks weightless at Sisk site

Grant Prior 3 weeks ago
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John Sisk & Son has introduced a robotic lifting system at its Wembley site which makes bricks and blocks weightless.

The Material Unit Lift Enhancer (MULE) was developed by New York based company Construction Robotics.

It is now operational at Sisk’s Wembley Park E05 site where it is being used in the construction of a multi-storey car park.

Sisk intends to roll the MULE out across its other construction projects in Ireland and the UK in the coming months.

MULE is a lift assist device for materials weighing up to 134lbs which feel weightless to site workers.

Sisk said the machine is not designed to replace bricklayers or masons but “improve their working conditions and enable them to focus on other aspects such as the pointing of brickwork.”

Special oversize blocks have been created for the Wembley trial to increase productivity.

Tarmac has worked with Sisk and Construction Robotics to develop an innovative aggregate block, 890mm long, which is twice as large as a standard 100mm thick concrete block.

The new larger, heavier block can be safely moved into place thanks to the lifting capacity of the MULE and has a significant effect on increasing build productivity and efficiency.

Sisk CEO, Steve Bowcott, said: “We are always looking at new, innovative ways to enhance productivity and make conditions safer for our workforce.

“This development further demonstrates that Sisk is leading the way in terms of the introduction of innovative construction solutions to construction projects and we look forward to utilising this tool across our other sites in Ireland and the UK very soon.”

Scott Peters, President and Co-Founder of Construction-Robotics said: “Construction Robotics is excited to be working with John Sisk & Son 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 to improve productivity for installing block materials.

“Sisk’s leadership to search out and their investment to adapt innovative technologies has led to a 12-month partnership to get the first Construction Robotics MULE technology outside of North America for application on the Wembley Park E05 project.

“Their 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 a part of the Sisk Team and see great opportunities to advance construction with technology.”

Andrew Campling, product line director – aggregate blocks at Tarmac’s Building Products business, added: “There are significant opportunities to continue improving the performance of the construction industry through the development of new technologies and innovations and we’re delighted to be part of this pioneering collaborative trial.

“Alongside the opportunity to increase efficiency rates and remove the amount of manual handling required, there are important safety, as well as wellbeing benefits to having heavy lifting carried out by this robotic tool.”

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