Concept: Austrian automation startup Printstones has launched Baubot, a multi-functional 3D printing robot for the construction sector. The device is capable of performing operations like concrete 3D printing, material transportation, screwdriving, welding, milling, painting, plasma cutting, and bricklaying. Although optimized for construction sites, customers can utilize the robot in the shipbuilding and aerospace sector, or for inspection and maintenance purposes in plants.
Nature of Disruption: The Baubot is a mobile robot that contains everything on-board, requiring no cables or stationary components. It utilizes a standard transponder and needs minimal setup time. Continuous tank tracks allow it to navigate through most terrains, drive through doors, and climb stairs. It is entirely powered by an electric battery, has a payload limit of 500kg, and a maximum speed of 3.2km/h. It also includes a robotic arm with 1m reach and 1mm dimensional accuracy. It operates in both manual and pre-planned mode, wherein its workday is determined in advance. A specialized software development kit (SDK) is integrated with the modular robot to enable customers to customize it with appropriate tools and applications, making it adaptable for most manufacturing sites.
Outlook: Traditional construction methods are labor-intensive, time-consuming, and involve a significant amount of risk for on-site employees. Printstones aims to introduce a multi-functional 3D printing robot that would enable construction companies to streamline production, reduce building and maintenance costs, improve the safety of workers, and make construction site jobs available to people with improved variance in gender, age, and physical abilities. Moreover, the startup wishes to incorporate Building Information Modelling (BIM) data functionality into the Baubot to simulate its work environment and optimize its routines. It also plans to use a centralized AI network, trained using modeling and sensor data, enabling several robots to work in tandem on construction sites.