Hilti and Canvas announce strategic partnership

Published 24/4 at 09:29

Hilti has announced a strategic partnership with Canvas, a construction robotics company that has developed a robotic dry walling solution aiming to empower people to build in bold new ways.

The partnership marks the beginning of a significant new step in robotics innovation after Hilti had launched the ‘Jaibot’, a semi-autonomous ceiling drilling robot in 2020. This collaboration brings together leaders in intelligent jobsite robotics who share the common vision that robotic tools will unlock vastly untapped potential and drive a new era of productivity and safety for skilled trade workers.

Canvas, headquartered in San Francisco, and founded in 2017 by veterans of Boston Dynamics, MIT and Stanford, leverages advances in collaborative robotics and machine learning to build a new class of tools for skilled tradespeople that harness the power of AI and machine learning. To date, Canvas has focused on dry wall finishing which, studies have shown, has among the highest prevalence of work related musculoskeletal disorder cases, with as many as one in four workers experiencing such effects.

Canvas states that its robot can apply both level 5 and level 4 dry wall finishes in a fraction of the time, and at a higher level of safety and reliability, compared to similar traditional methods. In contrast to manual application, the robot applies a single consistent layer of joint compound over wet tape and telescopes over 4.5m to do the vast majority of the work at height. It is said to reduce repetitive motion injuries and captures 99.9% of the dust produced by sanding.

As part of the partnership, Hilti will assume the manufacturing responsibilities for future Canvas systems based on the proven Jaibot platform, giving Canvas a reliable and scalable global supply to meet the huge demand for its finishing robots. “At Hilti, our purpose is making construction better. We do this by focusing our resources on innovative hardware, software and services that help to increase contractor productivity, worker health and safety and sustainability,” said Thomas Hillbrand, Member of Hilti’s executive board. “Our shared values bring Hilti and Canvas together and we’re excited to support Canvas in reimagining better ways of working through the power of robotics and AI.”

“It’s extremely validating that the demand for our dry wall finishing robot quickly outstretched our capacity to produce this year,” says Canvas’ CEO, Kevin Albert. “Contractors continue to struggle with rising costs and labour shortages. The demand we see is testament to the critical need for new tools in the industry to address these challenges and empower our skilled workforce. We’re excited to announce this partnership which continues to push the boundary of what is possible and positions Canvas to meet current and future demand for our machines globally.”

The Canvas-Hilti partnership positions the construction robotics company to scale globally in an industry that is ripe for change. The partnership will enable Canvas to help the dry wall industry solve its chronic and growing labour problem, while also making the job site cleaner, safer and less strenuous for the people doing the work.

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