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DEKO Partitions Ltd. is one of the leading companies in Europe producing and supplying demountable systems, glazed partitioning solutions, and door systems. By 2013 the company recognized and defined a need for a robot helping construction workers in lifting, transporting and positioning heavy partitions on the construction sites. That is why in August 2013 DEKO Partitions and Blue Ocean Robotics initiated RoBi-X Partnership aiming at developing a glass partition mounting solution.
The Partnership resulted in creating WallMo 100, the innovative robot solution that improves the working environment for construction workers, and makes construction sites more effective. The WallMo 100 co-bot assists construction workers in handling heavy lifts and difficult transportation of partition walls.
A WallMo 100 and one operator can set up wall partition weighing up to 100 kg within 2-3 minutes instead of the current requirements for 2-3 construction workers in manual set up, and it only takes 30 minutes of training to operate the robot, says Lars Andersen, CEO at WallMo A/S.
Challenges in the construction industry
The glass partitions can weight up to 100 kg, and this means a very heavy load for construction workers responsible for its mounting. Lifting the heavy partitions proved to be time-consuming and very aggravating for construction sites employees’ health, therefore DEKO was determined to resolve this issue.
Our goal was to create a safer work environment and find a solution that could relieve our construction workers from the heavy load associated with lifting and installing large partitions on the construction site. The WallMo 100, co-created in the RoBi-X Partnership with Blue Ocean Robotics, does exactly that, says Peter Krogh, CEO of DEKO Partitions.
Designing the solution
The RoBi-Design phase of the RoBi-X Partnership started in August 2013 and was focused on designing a robotic solution to a challenge of lifting heavy glass partitions. In this phase, Blue Ocean Robotics collaborated closely with DEKO and developed a concept of WallMo 100, a robot capable of lifting, transporting and positioning heavy glass walls. Blue Ocean Robotics was responsible for providing the robotics solutions, while DEKO provided the expertise on how the workflow on the construction site looks like and all the technical details around the installation of partition wall panels. The concept of WallMo 100 was finalized in January 2014, to the satisfaction of both partners and according to the work schedule. The WallMo was designed as a co-bot, as it assists construction workers in handling heavy lifts and difficult transportation of partition walls. It takes only one operator and one WallMo 100 co-bot to mount a partition wall or glass panels.
During RoBi-Design phase Blue Ocean Robotics also carried out an extensive research on market demand for WallMo 100 solution. The research confirmed the need for robotizing the process of heavy partitions mounting, and therefore the idea of creating a spin-off company dealing with the development and distribution of a newly designed solution was born. The WallMo A/S company was established in December 2014. The development phase of the robot started with a complete business and investment plan created for the new company established by 3 partners – Blue Ocean Robotics, DEKO Partitions and BOREAN Innovation, the innovation incubator created and funded by the Danish Agency for Research and Innovation in Education and Research Ministry to create and develop knowledge-based entrepreneurial enterprises.
The development of WallMo 100
WallMo A/S first product, the WallMo 100, is the first collaborative robot able to lift, carry and install wall panels with dimensions up to 100 x 300 cm and weight up to 100 kg in a corridor with a width of 1,3 m. The development phase of WallMo 100 included laboratory and on-site tests and obtaining of all the necessary approvals. The first functional prototype of WallMo 100 was finished in April of 2015, and in September of the same year, the product was launch on the Scandinavian market and available in pre-orders. The WallMo company will deliver first WallMo 100 co-bots to the Danish customers in spring 2018.
The WallMoBot project
The WallMo company is now working on WallMoBot – a 3 year research project funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark with WallMo A/S as a project manager. The project also involves University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University, Blue Ocean Robotics and DEKO Partitions. The project aims at developing and implementing the TP-ZeroGravity technology to the next generation of WallMo A/S robots.
WallMoBot will integrate two technology platforms – TP-ZeroGravity and TP-Mobile. TP-ZeroGravity is an integrated platform allowing the robot to balance the weight of grasped partition and rotate it as needed during the installation process. TP-Mobile is a technology platform that allows the robot to drive safely, navigate its surroundings and avoid obstacles. Thanks to the TP-Mobile the robot can be controlled steadily and adjusted to the mounting position, while the wheels operate safely in the construction site environment without any damage to the floor or door panels.
Possessing those features doesn’t compromise its size – the co-bot fits in a standard transporter wagon and can operate in confined workspaces with limited dimensions, such as narrow corridors. The WallMoBot can carry weights up to 150 kg and handle panels up to 100 x 300 cm.
Conquering the market
The WallMo A/S company is now entering the scale-up phase, where it is focusing on building the global market for WallMo 100 and WallMoBot. The applications of WallMo robots are not limited to the glass partitions mounting, as the co-bots can also mount the gypsum walls, plasterboards and concrete elements in construction sites. Therefore, they can be applied to different construction sites within the industry and that is why the WallMo A/S company is looking forward to its future conquests.
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