Friday, March 11, 2011

Another nifty invention!

In my younger days, to earn a bit of extra cash, I'd sometimes help out with laying paving stones to form driveways, patios, and so on. It was hard work, and making sure everything came out level, aligned, and in the desired pattern wasn't always easy.

I was therefore very interested to read about a Dutch invention - a machine that automatically lays paving stones! According to Gizmag:

Henk van Kuijk, director of Dutch industrial company Vanku, evidently decided that squatting/kneeling and shoving the bricks into place on the ground was just a little too slow, so he invented the Tiger Stone paving machine. The road-wide device is fed loose bricks, and lays them out onto the road as it slowly moves along. A quick going-over with a tamper, and you’ve got an instant brick road.

One to three human operators stand on the platform of the Tiger Stone, and move loose bricks by hand from its hopper to its sloping "pusher" slot - the bricks do have to be fed into the pusher in the desired finished pattern. From there, gravity causes them to slide together, in one road-wide sheet, down onto the sand.

The tread-tracked machine is electrically-powered, and has few moving parts, so noise and maintenance are kept to a minimum. It stays on course thanks to built-in sensors, which follow the curbs. According to Vanku, a machine with two operators can pave at least 300 square meters (3,229 sq.ft.) of road per day, whereas a single conventional paver on their hands and knees manages between 75 and 100.

There's more at the link. Here's a video clip of the Tiger-stone machine in operation.

All I can say, looking at that thing, is "Why didn't someone invent one of these years ago?" And how about a smaller version, that home-owners can hire to lay their own pathways and patios over a weekend?



Anonymous said...

I think that would be a pretty good idea, perhaps something you could hang off the front of a skid-steer or similar.

I helped a friend lay the pavers for a 10' circular deck, and we ended up moving them four times before they were laid down.. Not so much fun, but it looked good in the end!


Douglas2 said...

Still need a base that is firm, level, sheds water via gravity, and is unlikely to wash out.
As hard as the work is, it is easy to make it look great right after it is laid compared to the difficulty of laying it in such a way that it still looks great 5 or 10 years down the line.