Multiplex improves site safety with Roborigger

Roborigger, an innovative lifting device that allows riggers and dogmen to control loads wirelessly from a safe distance, is now being used by construction giant Multiplex.

The innovative automated product, developed by TENSA Equipment, is currently being used on Mutiplex’s latest project, the New Museum for Western Australia.

The Roborigger device, the first of its kind to be used on a commercial construction site, uses inertial forces to accurately rotate and orient crane loads, eliminating the need for workers to use taglines or to be in close proximity to the load during the lifting and lowering phases.

It features an in-built camera and load cell and incorporates a tracking system so every piece of data on a lift, including an image of the load, weight, location, time and date, and the unit states, can be viewed online in real-time.

Multiplex is the first commercial construction contractor to use this wireless load bearing technology.

Multiplex CEO John Flecker said it’s exciting to see the Roborigger technology in action.

“At Multiplex, we are always looking to find ways of making our sites and day-to-day operations safer, so it’s been a great opportunity to partner with TENSA in the research and development of Roborigger,” Flecker said.

“The overwhelming potential safety outcomes are what sparked our interest in Roborigger.

“The device perfectly aligns with our overarching strategy to be safer by design and focus on critical risks, removing the need for workers to be in the proximity of a high risk activity.”

TENSA has been developing the Roborigger technology since 2016 and Multiplex has supported this as an industry partner since 2017, coordinating Roborigger trials on commercial sites and providing user feedback.

“It’s exciting to see Roborigger successfully in action with the initial trial meeting all of our expectations. We’ve already expanded the trial to other sites in WA, with plans to roll out Roborigger on a number of Multiplex sites nationally,” Flecker added.

TENSA managing director Derick Markwell said TENSA initially developed the technology to address the challenging task of installing wind turbine blades when the wind was greater than the current limit of 12 knots.

“As we spoke to more people in the industry we realised that safety was the key concern,” Markwell said.

“We have also recently realised that data captured from load lifts is as valuable as the hardware itself, so we are now looking at leveraging this.”

Roborigger has been a completely local Western Australian innovation with the key research, development and trial phases all carried out locally and supported by local stakeholders such as Multiplex.

TENSA has also been collaborating closely with Curtin University researchers, who developed the bespoke algorithm for Roborigger control. The Curtin research was supported by Woodside who is also a development partner for Roborigger.

“Roborigger has really shown the strength of our local capability for innovation. We’re confident that further development of the Roborigger line of products will continue to build Western Australia’s capability in automation and robotics, helping to diversify the local economy,” said Markwell.

TENSA is currently taking Roborigger to the next commercialisation stage, having set up a production facility in Wangara where it is underway to build 39 Roborigger units this year.

Roborigger production facility set up in WA

We have continued on our commercialisation path for Roborigger by setting up a new production facility in Wangara.

The production facility houses a team of 10 mechanical, mechatronics and industrial automation engineers. It is equipped with the capability and resources to build, assemble and test Roborigger line of products.

The first production run of AR10, AR15 and ARM1500-20 Roborigger units is underway with expected delivery to our customers commencing in late May.