Fatigue on the jobsite is real, so much so that many technology companies have developed products to reduce fatigue and also sense when a worker is experiencing fatigue. There are other wearable devices, like exoskeletons, that can enhance a workers strength and stamina, but when you need to add more than a little punch, Construction Robotic’s MULE 135 may do the trick.
The MULE 135 makes heavy objects (up to 135 pounds), like CMU block, virtually weightless. The reduction of fatigue from not having to lift thousands of pounds of material a day, the company says, can produce between a 30% and 50% productivity savings. Less fatigue can also result in a lower risk for injury and increased quality.
The maximum free standing height a MULE (Material Unit Lift Enhancer) can reach is 28 feet, with a maximum mast height of 41 feet and a maximum arm reach of 12 feet. The combination of the arm & powerpack, fork tubes, ground base, and MULE mast can push the total weight of each unit up to 2,335 pounds.
A 120V, 20A circuit is also required for the MULE to operate.
With the limitations on reach, it will be necessary on nearly all jobs to move the MULE to continue working on other sections of your structure. If certain conditions are met, like travel grade being less than 8%, a maximum mast height of 22 feet, and system weight not exceeding 3500 pounds, then the MULE can be moved with a Lull by simply using the Fork Tubes at the top of the mast. If needed, the unit can be partially disassembled to make then move easier.
I was recently able to catch up with the Construction Robotics team at World of Concrete, see video below. I was told each MULE costs in the $70,000 range, which is reasonable if the productivity savings mentioned above can be achieved.
This type of human augmenting technology will be a huge factor in battling workforce shortages in the future. It can not only reduce the wear and tear on workers bodies, allowing them to work a longer career, but reduce the entry barrier for new talent looking to enter the workforce.
For more information about the mule, you can check out the manual here.