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Framing Will Never Be the Same

For two years, a construction technology firm in California has been working on a new interior wall framing system and is about ready to launch.

    

Hyperframe, the name of the product and the company making it, eliminates waste and drastically improves construction speed and safety. Hyperframe’s standard U-shaped and C-shaped components are cut to size and snap together—no measuring, no aligning, no cutting, no screwing. Instead, software does the heavy lifting—translating the project’s Building Information Model into a production run. Automated roll-formers and robotic work cells produce custom components that snap-fasten on the job site.

    

Frankly, I’ve never seen this combination of technologies applied to cold-formed steel framing. But here it is—a tech combo that jumps past robotic layout technologies. Hyperframe will arrive early next year, says co-founder and CEO Ken Sobel.

    

“The package of technology and framing products is going to blow your mind,” says Todd Brady, Hyperframe co-founder and chief business officer.


Snap-Fastening Technology

Brady is the son of Ron Brady, AWCI president from 1989 to 1990 and Pinnacle Award winner, and inventor of Slotted Track and ProX Header. Brady, Sobel and third co-founder Jay Cady, a software wizard, have a concept that’s unique, likely disruptive and, I’m told, well-funded.

    

The key to Hyperframe is its software. The software translates a project BIM into a “manufacturing recipe,” Brady says, which is then fed to an automated assembly line, where robots fasten proprietary snap connectors to traditional CFS track, studs and headers.

    

“We bump it [the project BIM] up from the traditional LOD 350 to LOD 400,” Brady says. “LOD 400 puts in the backing and blocking—the in-wall framing for the MEP trades.”

    

Whereas LOD 400 once required an experienced BIM department, Hyperframe’s software performs that function. When an order is placed, the BIM is converted into a production run—roll-formers creating track and studs, robotic work cells fastening connectors to each connection point.

    

“The robotic work cells will take the snap connectors we have designed and mount them using self-piercing rivets, shoulder rivets and blind rivets,” Brady says. “Every stud and track has clips and connectors. They’re part of a kitted bundle of finished goods—picked up and delivered by the dealer in the traditional way.”

    

“We consider ourselves a hybrid between panelizing and stick building,” Brady says. “We bring the speed and labor savings of prefabricated walls without the difficulty of trucking finished panels and hauling them into the job zone.”


Holograms Guide the Framers

On site, Hyperframe assembly requires just two installers. One wears a Trimble XR10, a product that outfits a Microsoft HoloLens 2 with a shatterproof visor and hard hat. Loaded with the BIM data, the HoloLens scans QR labels placed on every component and projects a hologram, showing the framer where the product goes. The HoloLens user passes the component to the second installer, who snap-fastens the component into place. Time for the next piece. Grab, scan, install—the experience is simpler than a video game.

    

Sure, that’s some pricey tech gear. But Hyperframe’s founders believe the cost of the components and headsets will be far outweighed by the benefits gained from speed, quality and safety. Sobel says full-scale mock-up tests have shown Hyperframe construction to occur 15 times faster than traditional stick-built framing. Most crews working with Hyperframe, he adds, won’t need scissor lifts or ladders to complete their framing work.


Lots of Tech, One Solution

I have never heard of such a complete solution for building walls—a system that uses BIM, production software, production robots, snap-fastening technology, QR codes, mixed-reality headsets and holograms. They are now one—one seamless installation tool. Place an order, and you get everything you need. You just supply two field workers.

    

“You will get finished kits,” Brady says, “everything with snap connectors, cut to size, delivered to your building.”

    

Building interior walls will be easy in 2022 and beyond.


Mark L. Johnson writes for the wall and ceiling industry. He can be reached via linkedin.com/in/markjohnsoncommunications.

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