Virtual construction & technology, Projects
Who can lay 2,600 – 2,700 bricks per day? SAM, the Super Awesome Mason, also known as the Semi-Automated Mason. Thanks to Pepper's masonry contractor, Wilhelm Construction, the Purdue University Flex Lab project team has the opportunity to work first-hand with SAM, one of the newest automation technology drivers for the construction industry.
Why is SAM so super? The average mason lays 350-400 bricks in a work day. With the current labor shortage, SAM allows more jobsites to stay on schedule. Just three people – two masons and a laborer – are needed to run SAM; whereas without SAM, six to eight masons would be needed on site to stay on schedule.
Efficiency and consistency are two other benefits of using SAM. The traditional bricklaying method uses two story poles with string to keep the mortar joints and lines straight. While it is a proven method that achieves quality results, human error does exist. SAM uses story poles as well, but instead of a string, he uses a laser grid to scan and track alignment, resulting in better consistency and quality of installation.
Still, he has his limitations. SAM is most efficient on long, straight expanses so buildings with multiple facets require skilled masons to finish the smaller sides and corners. Additionally, as with most technology, there is still a learning curve and need for human assistance. We’ve noticed a learning curve on our own job as work progresses, which Wilhelm will take to their next project.
Introduced to the construction industry in 2014, SAM is still very early in his career. His capabilities continue to evolve through new software and features that are being designed to maximize SAM’s productivity.
Pepper is excited to have SAM on our site, and we are looking forward to where we’ll find him next!
To learn more about the Purdue Flex Lab Facility, click here.