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Wed April 24 2024

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Bricklaying robot secures $25m investment

15 Feb A Dutch company that has developed an automated bricklaying machine has secured US$25m in funding from investors.

Monumental's brick laying machine
Monumental's brick laying machine

Monumental builds construction robots that are supplied bricks by electric autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) moving around site.

Monumental was founded as Terraform in 2021 by chief executive Salar al Khafaji and chief technology officer Sebastiaan Visser with a vision to solve the labour, cost and sustainability challenges facing the construction industry.

It has now raised US$25m in funding led by Plural and Hummingbird. Northzone, Foundamental and NP-Hard Ventures, as well as angel investors, also participated.

Monumental鈥檚 robots are fitted with sensors and small cranes able to place bricks and mortar with human-level precision, accuracy and efficiency, it is claimed. The robots are controlled by Monumental鈥檚 AI-powered software, Atrium, and are small enough to go anywhere a human can, whether that鈥檚 in tight corners, through doorways or in a van.

Following pilot test cases in the Netherlands, Monumental completed its first large-scale, 15-metre facade for an office and warehouse building in 2023. It has since deployed its robots on several other projects, including social housing and has partnerships with multiple contractors.

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the robots are supplied bricks by electric autonomous ground vehicles
the robots are supplied bricks by electric autonomous ground vehicles

Salar al Khafaji, co-founder and CEO at Monumental, said: 鈥淭he construction industry is one of the largest and most important in the world, yet it鈥檚 held back by global labour shortages and rising supply chain costs. At Monumental, we鈥檙e working to help the industry meet these challenges. Our agile, intelligent, and adaptable robots and software blend human expertise with robotic efficiency in a way that the industry has never seen before. They will revolutionise not just how buildings are constructed but transform the economics of the construction industry itself. We鈥檙e delighted to have this stellar team of investors joining us on this mission."

Investor Sten Tamkivi, a partner at Plural, said: 鈥淢onumental鈥檚 approach is the perfect coming together of ambition and expertise, the rising power and impact of AI, and the shrinking cost and size of cutting-edge hardware to address an industry that鈥檚 at breaking point. Something significant has to happen if we鈥檙e to meet the housing demands of millions and reduce the economic and environmental burden of the built world and Monumental is going to be something significant.鈥

Monumental’s chief technology officer Sebastiaan Visser (left) and chief executive Salar al Khafaji, who together founded the business in 2021
Monumental鈥檚 chief technology officer Sebastiaan Visser (left) and chief executive Salar al Khafaji, who together founded the business in 2021

Hummingbird partner Firat Ileri said: 鈥淓urope鈥檚 infrastructure has been suffering from the shortage of skilled labourers for years and we鈥檙e excited to support Monumental and its innovative approach to solving this challenge. Monumental鈥檚 robots won鈥檛 just improve efficiencies on building sites, but the technology has the potential to enhance safety, optimise workflows and attract more talent into the field who are excited to learn new skills. We鈥檙e confident Monumental will deliver long-term benefits for the industry and society as a whole.鈥

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