Dutch startup is using robots to lay monumental bricks

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Some categories are ripe for automation-fueled disruption, such as manufacturing. This industry is worth approximately $2 trillion per year in the US alone. Much of that work is difficult, repetitive, and sometimes dangerous – exactly the kinds of problems industrial robotics are built to solve. The other thing that creation brings is a wider range of different challenges, which means more startups can operate in the space without direct competition.

Brick-making robots aren’t exactly an untested concept. At the moment, Hadrian X is probably the most famous player in the region. The American firm specializes in building structures from large concrete masonry blocks. Amsterdam-based Monumental, meanwhile, specializes in the more familiar red clay variety.

The startup was founded in 2021 by the duo behind data visualization firm Silk (now a Palantir joint venture). Monumental is already doing limited pilot work in its native Netherlands, including a 15-metre exterior of an office building. Partnerships have been formed with 25 contractors, including low-income housing.

I can’t speak much about the efficacy of the system beyond what I’ve seen in a few video demos, but what I can say is that the company seems to be tackling the problem from a variety of fronts, starting with a system designed to do the heavy lifting. Is caused by an autonomous vehicle. Payload. From there, another robot spreads liquid mortar and places the bricks.

“At Monumental, we are working to help the industry address these challenges,” says co-founder and CEO Salar Al Khafaji. “Our agile, intelligent and adaptable robots and software blend human expertise with robotic agility in a way the industry has never seen before.”

To celebrate its upcoming party, Monumental is also announcing a $25 million funding round led by Plural and Hummingbird, with participation from Northzone, Foundational, and NP-Hard Ventures.

The funding will be used for hiring, scaling up manufacturing and diversifying the way its robots are able to handle bricks/blocks.



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