KUKA Systems Corp. has partnered with a U.S-based modular housing company to bring automation to home construction. Yesterday, the robotics company announced it has worked with Waypaver International to produce System P4, a factory system template for modular house building that was designed by Waypaver and uses KUKA’s robots.
Augsburg, Germany-based KUKA and Boise, Idaho,-based Waypaver said they designed System P4 to help address the global housing crisis caused by labor shortages and the construction industry’s slow technological progress. The system was spearheaded by Waypaver CEO and founder Rick Murdock, Timo Heil, one of the CEOs of the KUKA Systems Group, and Curtis Fletcher, who the companies describe as Murdock’s business partner.
They added System P4 uses Waypaver’s plant floor layout and logistics combined with KUKA robotics automation, hardware, and integration services.
“In the 1920s, it took Ford 12 hours to produce a car; today a car is produced in less than a minute. With System P4, Murdock and Heil see similar opportunities to reduce the time it takes to build housing – while relieving workers in the construction trades of physical stress,” the companies added.
They do not share how exactly the system works or what types of robots it uses, but they noted it was designed to have “much higher benchmarks” than a typical worker in a 40-hour work week.
“Developing the world's first automated plant of its kind forced us to make big advancements in construction engineering and manufacturing,” Murdock said. “The goal has always been to learn and share better ways to build, advance modular construction, and make housing more attainable worldwide. Collaborating with KUKA on System P4 is a major next step because it gives future factory owners a turnkey solution based on real-world lessons learned by pioneers in both construction and automation.”
Backed by The P4 Housing Collective
The new system is backed by The P4 Housing Collective, which describes itself as a “team of independent companies working to supercharge the construction process through an ecosystem of standard products and services designed to work together.”
The collective is made up of Waypaver, Prefab Logic, Modular Maven, and Effektiv House.
“The team collectively offers a construction ecosystem of plant design, people development, preconstruction design/engineering, and products ready to be built—designed together to work together with System P4,” the collective said in a statement.
Fletcher said Waypaver’s main goal is to make homeownership more accessible and the building process more precise and easier. The company’s work with The P4 Housing Collective is helping it accomplish that goal, and its work with KUKA is providing real-world solutions.
“System P4 is powered by KUKA, and backed by data-driven preconstruction, off-the-shelf products, and people development programs—all designed to work together with System P4,” he said. “This is great news for developers, municipalities, and modular builders looking to establish their own steady stream of quality housing.”
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