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FBR signs MOU to establish concrete masonry blocks joint venture with Brickworks

The companies will collaborate on the design, manufacture, compliance certification and testing of clay and masonry blocks for use in the Australian market.

FBR is a Perth-based technology company and manufacturer of a robotic bricklaying system

FBR Ltd (ASX:FBR) has signed an MOU with a leading supplier of building products, Brickworks Building Products, to collaborate on the manufacture and certification of concrete masonry unit blocks suitable for structural walls of residential buildings

A new special purpose joint venture company, Fastbrick Australia Pty Ltd, will be formed to supply Wall as a Service™ (WaaS) to the Australian building and construction market using the Hadrian X construction robot.

The MOU sets out the key terms on which FBR and Brickworks propose to operate, outlining a period of three years under a shareholder’s agreement.

Customer benefits

The purpose of the JV is to demonstrate the building capabilities of the Hadrian X robots and the WaaS business model, which involves partnering with market-dominant product manufacturers and suppliers with an extensive customer-base of building and construction.

Under WaaS, the end customer receives the benefits of robotic construction without having to train operators, which could potentially accelerate global adoption of FBR’s robotic technology.

The Hadrian X is a collaborative robot (co-bot) that works on site with experienced robot operations to deliver quality wall products.

“Accelerate global commercialisation”

FBR CEO Mike Pivac said: “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.”

The MOU also provides Brickworks with the exclusive rights to supply blocks to FBR.  

“Excited to work together”

Brickworks’ managing director Lindsay Partridge said: “We are excited to work together with FBR towards creating this joint venture initiative.

“We are pleased to be able to leverage our experience and capabilities to manufacture customised blocks for use by FBR’s Hadrian X robots and have the opportunity to secure exclusive block supply rights for these robots in the Australian market.”

Pilot operations

Once the joint venture is formed, FBR will begin pilot operations in Perth to engage with building companies and provide the structural brickwork for residential homes on demand.

The pilot operations are anticipated to generate first operating revenues on a per-square-metre-of-wall basis for the company in the 2019 – 2020 financial year.

“First robotic WaaS entity” worldwide

Pivac also said: “Fastbrick Australia will be the first robotic WaaS entity established in the world and our pilot program in Western Australia will serve to validate the Hadrian X technology, the new block products created for the Hadrian X and this unique business model which we believe can be rolled out worldwide.”

- Jessica Cummins 


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