05/02/2019 - 14:29

Robot bricklayer firm finds JV partner in Brickworks

05/02/2019 - 14:29

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Construction robotics group FBR has signed a deal that lays the foundation to launch a joint venture with building products manufacturer Brickworks, to produce bricks optimised for use with its Hadrian X robot bricklaying system.

FBR's Hadrian X can lay as many bricks in an hour as two bricklayers can in a single day. Photo: FBR

Construction robotics group FBR has signed a deal that lays the foundation to launch a joint venture with building products manufacturer Brickworks, to produce bricks optimised for use with its Hadrian X robot bricklaying system.

Shares in FBR, formerly known as Fastbrick Robotics, lifted on the ASX today after it announced the signing of a binding MOU with Brickworks, which will set guidelines for the companies’ collaboration on the custom bricks.

At close of trade, FBR shares were up 17.4 per cent, at 13.5 cents.

Under terms of the agreement, a JV known as Fastbrick Australia will be established to demonstrate the capabilities of FBR’s Hadrian X system.

Brickworks will manufacture the blocks, while also holding exclusive rights to supply brick and block products that can be used with the system.

The first products to come out of the JV will be blocks customised to suit Western Australia’s residential construction sector.

Fastbrick Australia will also engage with building companies to provide structural brickwork for residential homes, under FBR’s Wall as a Service (WaaS) business model.

FBR’s WaaS concept involves the company partnering with building products manufacturers and suppliers as well as residential and commercial builders, with FBR supplying the Hadrian X robots and operators to carry out the works, rather than manufacturers or builders purchasing the units themselves and training employees to operate them.

Chief executive Michael Pivac said FBR’s partnership with Brickworks was a significant step forward for the commercialisation of the group’s technology.

“Our relationship with Brickworks will significantly accelerate the global commercialisation of our technology through the support they can provide as Australia’s leading incumbent in the construction materials space, the direct market access they can facilitate through their existing customer base and the industry knowledge they have accumulated over the last 110 years,” Mr Pivac said in a statement to the ASX.

FBR and Brickworks have set a timeline of 45 days to reach a formal shareholders’ agreement in relation to the proposed joint venture.

The proposed deal is solid progress for FBR, after its shares took a hit in December after it and global machinery manufacturer Caterpillar pulled out of a collaborative agreement to commercialise the technology.

FBR and Caterpillar had been working together to develop a framework for the international distribution of the Hadrian X technology.

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