Autonomous three-wheeled robot said to deliver site layouts up to ten times faster than manual methods
HP has launched HP SitePrint, an autonomous robot that prints site layouts directly onto the floor of a construction site. According to HP, the three wheeled robot can print with pinpoint accuracy in a fraction of the time it takes to layout manually, improving productivity by as much as ten times.
Global construction firm Skanska has been using HP SitePrint on two prominent US projects, including the LIRR Train Hall Renovation in Penn Station, New York. Working with Skanska, it took construction services provider Siteline360 45 minutes to print the layout of walls over an area of 2,400 square feet. According to Michael Hill, regional director of Siteline360, that same job took a layout technician seven hours to do it manually.
HP SitePrint gets its precise positioning and navigation by linking to a Robotic Total Station. Through a collaboration with Leica Geosystems the robot is guided by the Leica TS16 and Leica iCON iCR80 Robotic Total Stations. HP and Topcon are also collaborating to integrate HP SitePrint with the Topcon Layout Navigator and GT Robotic Total Stations. HP has not made any claims about accuracy.
HP’s robot is ruggedised and designed to operate in construction site conditions. It can print lines, arcs and text on multiple surfaces, including those that are porous (concrete, tarmac, plywood, and pavement) and non-porous (terrazzo, vinyl, and epoxy) . HP says the robot is light and compact, and can be transported in a hard case that fits all the solution components. This includes a touch screen tablet for remote control and configuration and a portfolio of inks for different surfaces, environmental conditions, and durability requirements. HP SitePrint comes with two batteries, each of which can perform constant construction layout for up to four hours.
The HP SitePrint solution also includes cloud tools for submitting and preparing jobs, managing the fleet and tracking usage.
“The existing manual layout process can be slow and labour intensive. Despite being done by specialists, there is always the risk of human error, which can result in costly reworks,” said Albert Zulps, director of emerging technology at Skanska. “Layout experts are a scarce resource who add a lot of value in terms of planning and strategy, but often end up dedicating most of their time to manual execution. HP SitePrint lets us do more with less, helping reduce schedules thanks to a much faster layout process, and allowing senior operators to focus on other critical activities like quality control.”
HP SitePrint has been used on over 80 pilot projects globally, across multiple environments – including residential, parking, airport, and hospital projects.
It is currently available to customers in North America through an Early Access Program. The final product and wider commercial launch are planned for 2023.
HP faces some competition from startups in this emerging market.
Dusty Robotics’ FieldPrinter can print layouts on a range of flat surfaces including concrete, plywood subfloor, wood formwork, and asphalt. The company has raised $69 million and is valued at $250 million.
Rugged Robotics has been prototyping and testing for 18 months and, according to its website, is now starting to scale commercially with several multi-billion-dollar general contractors. The Houston-based company has raised $10 million.