Back at the end of January, Built Robotics, one of the bigger names in autonomous machines for construction sites, announced the acquisition of Roin Technologies, a smaller company in the autonomous construction space focused specifically on concrete. The latter created the first automated concrete power trowel on the market, which after this announcement is now part of the Built Robotics ecosystem. Per Built’s announcement of the news, this move will “grow the capabilities of Built’s engineering team and accelerate key technological developments to expand automation beyond construction into new applications and markets.”
Automation in construction can mean a lot of different things, including what people may not immediately think of. Much of the automation that firms are taking advantage of actually comes on the back-end, automating often tedious and time-consuming, but still crucial, processes which happen on a computer in an office rather than on an actual jobsite. That said, in this case we’re talking about the other kind of automation that people generally think of first with automated machines on-site. Given the increasing demand for construction for a variety of reasons including but not limited to growing urbanization and faltering infrastructure, combined with labor shortages being experienced in the industry, this type of autonomous machinery is going to be pivotal to meet demand.
To that end, Built Robotics is upping their abilities in the space with this kind of targeted acquisition, something we can probably expect to continue. Roin Technologies was a relatively new name in the space, having been founded in 2020, per Crunchbase. However, they brought a key product to the market with the first ever automated concrete power trowel, a machine used to smooth concrete slabs. Given how important concrete is to construction – it is the second most consumed product on Earth after water, and its usage is twice as large as wood, steel, plastic, and aluminum combined – being able to automate this kind of task which takes place in most projects is huge for the industry. This automated power trowel, as well as a shotcrete robot from Roin, will be integrated into Built’s systems.
From where we’re sitting, this seems like the kind of move that we will continue to see moving forward, both from Built specifically and the industry at large. For one thing, construction technology has exploded in the last few years, and the next logical step after that kind of boom is consolidation. Additionally, as we mentioned above the autonomous construction machinery market is going to keep growing. Built, particularly with their Exosystem, which enables autonomous earthmoving and for which they are best known, is in a place where they can establish their place as a leader in this market, and a good way to continue that progress is by diversifying and acquiring smaller companies, especially ones with complementary technology like in this case.
That complementary relationship comes from Built now having tools to address two of the major pieces of a construction project. We talked about the prevalence of concrete in any project, and earthmoving is of course another significant piece. This is where the aforementioned Exosystem comes in. A combination of sensors and software, the Exosystem attaches on the back of most any excavator from major companies to enable autonomous operation.
As for Roin, the acquisition has already gone through out the company’s former website now redirecting to Built’s. That said, the people who made up the firm are now integrated into Built’s staff, including Roin’s founder and CEO Jim Delaney. Per the release of this acquisition, Delaney has joined Built’s engineering team, both to help integrate Roin’s technology into Built’s but also to assist in the effort to build future product lines, including the goal we mentioned at the top to expand into applications and markets outside of construction.
In a prepared press statement, Delaney said, “We see joining Built as the next step in Roin's story. "I have always admired what Built has launched and how they've moved the construction industry forward in adopting new technologies, and I am excited to have the opportunity to join their team.”
Built Robotics CEO and founder Noah Ready-Campbell added, “Since their founding, Roin's team has pushed the boundaries of construction autonomy, which has created a unique expertise in our industry. With Roin joining Built, the combined teams will continue developing new autonomous construction applications, and customers can expect to see robotic applications expanding beyond earthmoving.”
Terms of the acquisition have not been released publicly.