I recently had the opportunity to speak with the CEO of Rebartek AS Max(imillian) Trommer. His startup has developed an autonomous system of building rebar cages offsite that can latter be connected on site.
large projects take thousands of man-hours assembling rebar cages. This time consuming process can hold up the schedule especially in places where labor is hard to come by like Norway where Rebartek is headquartered. Currently Rebartek does their fabrication in their facility, but there are many exciting developments ahead for their tech. One concept being tested is a semi mobile gantry system that could be brought to a construction site to decrease the shipping expenses of the assembled cages. This makes a lot of sense if you consider the volume of an assembled rebar form vs the the volume the rebar would take up if it were unassembled and parallel.
Max started this company a couple years ago after working on a large bridge project and seeing firsthand how costly and time consuming it was to assemble the rebar. Initially he had a partner that helped him get the concept off the ground which was a key component for the concept because Max had no prior experience with automation robotics. Fast forward to now and his perspective on the complications of automation has changed drastically.
Their initial concept has been realized but with more experience, Rebartek is now fine tuning the system and using machine learning to achieve a variety of efficiencies.
Norway like many other countries faces a serious labor shortage that if left unsolved will lead to serious bottlenecks in the construction industry. Long term, a weak labor force means less buildings will be built and affordable housing access will decrease. Rebartek offers a solution to lighten a slice of this shortage and offer benefit to the construction schedule.
Max would like future engineers to consider how to pursue parametric design and code based solutions and recommends pythons as a very versatile useful tool for aspiring engineers looking to automate tasks.
As Rebartek continues to develop their technology and increase the efficiency of their product offering they will build a very compelling backlog of projects. It will take more projects to accurately depict the true time/cost savings because every project is so different but as always with technology over time there is no doubt we will see significant developments.
Check out the Rebartek Youtube channel to get an idea of how their tech works.