FBR enters pilot program with German brickmaker

FBR enters pilot program with German brickmaker

Robot bricklayer FBR (ASX: FBR) has executed an agreement to trial a German brickmaker's specialist blocks with its Hadrian X automated homebuilding machine.

The deal, with Xella Technologie und Forschungsgesellschaft (Xella), will see the German company supply blocks to FBR in Australia for the construction of at least two structures.

Headquartered in Duisburg, Xella is a business that specialises in the manufacture and supply of new building products, including autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks and calcium silicate (CSU) blocks.

According to FBR, the AAC large format blocks are constructed to a high dimensional accuracy, meaning they are potentially well suited to the structure building robot Hadrian X.

In addition, the CSUs are a sustainable, low energy, sound absorbent building block and is in common use throughout the world.

Following the construction of at least two buildings at FBR's Perth HQ, the two companies will consult with one another on any changes that need to be made to the blocks, adhesives, or the Hadrian X.

These changes will be made to make the machine commercially viable in European markets.

"We are very pleased to be working with another high quality block supplier with global reach as we continue to commercialise our automated bricklaying technology," FBR managing director and CEO Mike Pivac said.

"Xella are known for their innovative products, and we are looking forward to working with them to progress the global scaling of the Hadrian X."

Last year FBR completed two milestone projects using the Hadrian X: a commercial and community centre in WA and a two storey structure.

It took just five business days for the Hardian X to complete the community centre at a speed of 174 blocks per hour; bettering results previously achieved by FBR during a display home build in Dayton, WA.

The project was completed as part of the third and final stage of FBR's pilot program with Archistruct Builders & Designers, following the amendment of their agreement to encompass commercial structures in addition to residential buildings.

The robot even had to contend with rough weather conditions like hail, high winds and heavy rain during the process.

The two storey structure was built on FBR's premises back in October using a building style commonly found around the world in key markets for the company such as Mexico and Asia.

It marked the first time FBR had demonstrated the Hadrian X's ability to build two storey structures, as well as working with design elements like steel reinforced concrete columns, suspended concrete slabs and rebar.

"In many parts of the world our customers want to be able to build two storey structures safely, quickly and efficiently, and we have no demonstrated that the Hadrian X can deliver on those customer needs," Pivac said.

Shares in FBR are up 6.25 per cent to $0.051 per share at 10.56am AEDT.

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