Ballast Nedam launches bricklaying robot (with real brickwork)

With the arrival of a bricklaying robot, Ballast Nedam can build new houses even more efficiently. The robot, with a trained operator, does as much work as three bricklayers. A perfect match with the current digitalisation within the sector.

Ballast Nedam joined developer Ropax as a launching customer at the end of 2021. Subsidiaries Heddes Bouw & Ontwikkeling and Laudy Bouw & Ontwikkeling are therefore closely involved in the final phase of the robot's development. The parties have tested the prototype and provided feedback on the processes and results. The use of the robot on the building site has also been tested.


Innovative way of bricklaying

"The bricklaying robot is a good solution in the current situation with a high demand for housing and tightness on the labour market," says Niels Doodeman, director of Heddes. "The innovative way of laying the brickwork saves costs and increases the speed of construction. Moreover, it is a sustainable solution that reduces mortar consumption by 30 to 50 percent and substantially cuts CO2 and NO2 emissions. It also prevents those scarce bricklayers from being physically overburdened."

Mortar consumption can be reduced by 30 to 50 per cent
Niels Doodeman Managing Director Heddes Bouw & Ontwikkeling

Real bricks

In contrast to many other bricklaying robots, this robot builds with real bricks. Thin (stone) strips are therefore left out. And that is no coincidence, developers Jeroen-Bas Menschaar and Jelle Overtoom explain to Cobouw: "Clean brickwork is in the DNA of the Dutch construction industry."

Besides bricklaying, the robot also makes the bricks to size. This is done with an integrated circular saw. Menschaar: "Things are simply not straight or level on the building site. Not even when they come from a housing factory. A bricklayer bridges all these differences in size and deviations flawlessly. Our robot does the same thanks to all the sensors it is equipped with. Because you can't just build blindly from the BIM model. Not now, not in the near future.

Ballast Nedam will start working with the bricklaying robot for the first time after the summer holidays. 

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