Canvas, the construction robotics company empowering people to build in bold new ways, announced on May 11 its strategic partnership with USG Corp., 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: on-site 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. “In partnering with Canvas, we are expanding our ability to use breakthrough technology to advance how our customers are able to finish projects,” said Chris Griffin, President and CEO at USG Corporation. “Combining our sought-after materials and R&D capabilities with Canvas’ 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’ 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.

“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,” said Jonathan Hughes, Vice President of Estimating at Daley’s Drywall & Taping.

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.

“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,” explained Dr. Srinivas Veeramasuneni, Chief Technology Officer at USG. “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’ robotic machines, making them more reliable, robust and ruggedized for the construction site.

“Even with the invention of the bazooka and the box, there were still the same four to five steps to deliver a finished wall,” said Canvas CEO Kevin Albert. “That is now no longer true. With Hilti as Canvas’ manufacturing partner and USG teaming with us to further advance materials, Canvas can accelerate the re-invention 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.”