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Construction robotics startup Canvas partners with USG to ‘transform drywall industry’

Canvas, a construction robotics startup, has agreed a strategic partnership with USG, the inventor of drywall and many industry-changing construction materials, including Sheetrock brand All Purpose, Plus 3, and other surface finishing products.

The partnership leverages two major technical advances: onsite robotics from Canvas and advanced building materials expertise from USG.

These organizations joined forces to collectively innovate and address chronic labor shortages, schedule and budget overruns, quality inconsistencies, and productivity and safety issues that have continuously challenged the drywall industry.

Over the past 122 years, USG has invented ground-breaking products and technologies for the building materials industry and holds more than 2,600 active patents.

Chris Griffin, president and CEO, USG, says: “In partnering with Canvas, we are expanding our ability to use breakthrough technology to advance how our customers are able to finish projects.

“Combining our sought-after materials and our R&D capabilities with Canvas’s robotics expertise offers great potential for solutions that can revolutionize the drywall industry.”

Canvas brings unprecedented productivity to one of the most labor-intensive scopes in construction: drywall finishing.

Canvas’s collaborative robot machines, introduced to drywall contractors in 2022, use AI and machine learning to sense, understand and execute to the exact specifications of each project.

The machine’s arm is designed to minimize overuse injuries that drywall finishers often experience, helping elongate trade workers’ careers.

Jonathan Hughes, vice president of estimating at Daley’s Drywall & Taping, says: “As an early adopter of the Canvas machine, we see three clear benefits of the system: 1) it makes work safer for our tapers by eliminating dangerous dust, minimizing repetitive motion injuries and reducing accidental falls; 2) the finish is amazing and consistent; and 3) the machine makes the work much faster, improving our productivity metrics and making us much more competitive.”

The partnership between USG and Canvas changes the constraints on innovation and unlocks entirely new evolutionary paths for the drywall industry.

The automotive industry experienced a similar “machine + material” revolution when robots began applying finishes to cars.

Application accuracy and consistency enabled the use of new materials and processes that were not possible with a purely manual method.

Dr Srinivas Veeramasuneni, chief technology officer, USG, says: “The Canvas materials process team has been working with USG for more than a year to enable high-quality surface finishing with current materials and are developing next-generation materials.

“With a shared commitment to customer-centric innovation, these types of partnerships extend our ability to deliver on customers’ needs and help drive the industry forward.”

This marks the second major announcement from Canvas in recent months to revolutionize the process of drywall finishing.

Canvas announced in March that global construction equipment manufacturer, Hilti, will now produce Canvas’s robotic machines, making them more reliable, robust and ruggedized for the construction site.

Kevin Albert, Canvas CEO, says: “Even with the invention of the bazooka and the box, there were still the same 4-5 steps to deliver a finished wall.

“That is now no longer true. With Hilti as Canvas’s manufacturing partner and USG teaming with us to further advance materials, Canvas can accelerate the reinvention and evolution of drywall finishing, driving value across the ecosystem from architects and owners to the current and next generation of skilled trade worker.

“By teaming with these industry leaders, we are creating something totally new. The opportunity space will explode.”

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