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Automating Layouts with Robots

The San Francisco technology start-up Dusty Robots has reached a significant milestone in the rollout of FieldPrinter. They have transitioned their robotic layout system from development to field testing to provide automated layout services for contractors.

Rick Yelton

October 5, 2020

2 Min Read

If Tessa Lau, and her team at Dusty Robotics have their way, contractors will have to put their chalk-lines and tape-measures next to their levels and other obsolete tools found in the back of their tool cribs.

The San Francisco technology start-up has reached a significant milestone in the rollout of FieldPrinter. They have transitioned this robotic layout system from the engineering team, which built the system, to the field team, which provides project layout services for general contractors in the Bay area. FieldPrinter represents the next stage of the digital revolution transforming construction. The robot replaces the human task of marking detailed layouts on horizontal surfaces on construction projects.

Contractors first upload their CAD files through a portal. Dusty Robotics’s exclusive software converts the data into directional controls for Fieldprinter. Once on site, a Dusty Robotics’ technician monitors FieldPrinter’s systematic travel on the horizontal surface as it leaves distinctive markings for designated features including walls and HVAC installations.

Initial field layouts have yielded promising results to aid in optimizing a project’s critical path. First, FieldPrinter can include separate markings for each trade’s scope of work eliminating potential conflicts. And the system saves time. In several beta tests, the Dusty Robotics team provided layouts on eight full floors over 11 days and on seven projects. And just as important, the robot provides real-time updates of its project to the general contractor closing the data loop.

The Dusty Robotics launch demonstrates how skilled engineers from non-construction disciplines are incorporating proven technology from other processes into construction. Their efforts have garnered the attention and support of several leading venture capital groups who see the opportunity of transforming construction, including NextGen Venture Partners, Baseline Ventures, Root Ventures, and Cantos.

Now that FieldPrinter is ready for project work, Dusty Robotics is soliciting inquiries from the construction industry for demonstrations. Click here to learn more about Dusty Robotics and its robotic layout system, FieldPrinter.

About the Author(s)

Rick Yelton

Editor at Large, World of Concrete

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