We talked to Henry Unterreiner of Hyperion Robotics on how they provide 3D printing solutions for reinforced concrete manufacturing and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Henry Unterreiner: Covid-19 has not been kind to the world, but I am grateful that everyone in my close circle keeps healthy and safe. Thanks for asking.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Hyperion Robotics.
Henry Unterreiner: Since my youngest age, I have always loved being creative and building things. This passion for art and science naturally translated into studying Structural Engineering and Architecture at a university in France. I then became a Structural Designer and joined a large engineering company (Arup) to design and build amazing buildings around the world (from small scale timber sculptures to mega-tall high-rise structures).
After spending 7 years with such a large corporation, I decided that it was time to sail on my own (entrepreneur)ship. I was lucky to encounter Fernando and Ashish last summer, who invited me to join them onboard Hyperion Robotics, a start-up aiming to revolutionize the construction industry by 3D printing reinforced concrete. This journey resonated with my inner passions, and I accepted their invitation. What could be more exciting than playing with robots and building the future!?
How does Hyperion Robotics innovate?
Henry Unterreiner: At Hyperion, innovation comes in many (3D printed) forms, and we’ve built our company on a technology that enables us to 3D print reinforced and sustainable concrete. In the team, we are all tinkerers and makers and passionate about creating things. We’ve built our culture around communication, ideation, and action. This leads us to constantly share ideas from our multidisciplinary backgrounds (structural engineering, robotics, mechanics, architecture, etc…), which often sparks creative conversations!
Being explorers at heart and on a mission to push the boundaries of concrete structures, we are excited to continue discovering innovative solutions to automate the construction industry and make it more sustainable.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Henry Unterreiner: Being a start-up, we’ve kept a lean approach to our operations, and we have been lucky to experience only minimal disruption. However, the pandemic has had a negative impact on the construction supply chain, making our autonomous technology even more relevant. The prefab factories and construction sites of tomorrow will be using robots to shape the buildings of the future. Automation will become the norm as we enter industry 4.0.
Similarly, on a more day-to-day basis, we’ve learnt how to be creative when speaking to clients and keeping close contact when collaborating remotely with their teams. Designing a project fully remotely is never easy, but we are making the best use of sharing screens and doodling on whiteboards to illustrate our conversations. Some of us have even turned into Microsoft Paint artists!
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Henry Unterreiner: Every day when I wake up, I start my day with a routine called the Miracle Morning (a term coined by Hal Elrod). First, I clear my mind by doing a bit of meditation and wake my body up with some yoga. I then spend some time reading before writing down my plan of action and the course my ship is going to take.
Being an entrepreneur is always an emotional roller-coaster, and I have found that having this routine prepares me mentally and physically for whatever life will throw at me.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Henry Unterreiner: 3D printing concrete is not a new technology and has been around for the last 40 years. There have been some very successful companies printing concrete before us.
However, our unique value comes from 2 unique selling points:
1. We 3D print REINFORCED concrete ensuring that our structures are compliant with local building regulations. This is possible thanks to the technological hardware development we are constantly undertaking and our in-house engineering team.
2. We 3D print SUSTAINABLE concrete by partnering with large material companies to constantly rethink a more sustainable 3D printing concrete mix. This mix will use large proportions of recycled by-products materials from other industries.
Your final thoughts?
Henry Unterreiner: We are grateful to our clients and our collaborators to trust us and keep us afloat as a company. COVID 19 is so far the fiercest storm we’ve had yet to face, and we’ve successfully been able to secure more projects despite the uncertainties.
We have also taken the pandemic as an opportunity to improve our technology and help the construction industry be more resilient in the face of future events thanks to our automation technology. We look forward to exploring many more oceans of opportunities and take part in revolutionizing the construction industry.
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