FBR’s robot hits new ‘lay speed’ record of 300 blocks per hour as US housing market beckons

FBR’s robot hits new ‘lay speed’ record of 300 blocks per hour as US housing market beckons

Building technology company FBR (ASX: FBR) has upped the ante in its race to commercialise its automated house structure-building robot after hitting a new ‘lay speed’ record of more than 300 blocks per hour.

The Perth-based company, formerly known as Fastbrick Robotics, says its first next-generation Hadrian X robot has significantly surpassed the highest ever recorded peak lay speed of its predecessor, the Hadrian 109, using US-format cement masonry blocks.

The laying rate is also up from 174 blocks an hour for Hadrian X announced in October last year. With that rate, FBR technology could lay the walls of a standard double-brick house in a single day with the technology aimed at fast-tracking house construction times while reducing labour costs.

FBR says the milestone demonstrates the commercial potential of FBR’s robotic construction technology, which is now proven to be able to lay 70 vertical square metres of wall per hour using the largest format blocks.

The latest indoor testing will be followed up by outdoor build activities at FBR’s facilities in the next few months, paving the way for Hadrian X to be applied for commercial operations.

“Achieving a lay speed record during calibration of our first next-generation Hadrian X is extremely encouraging, with expectations that the lay rate will become significantly faster still,” FBR’s CEO Mike Pivac says.

“In our testing and calibration program we are using the most commonly used cement masonry blocks in the world.

“However, using larger format and readily available blocks at the rates we have demonstrated to date, means we could robotically lay, on site, the walls of a standard double brick house in a single day.”

The FBR technology is said to be able to lay bricks between 20 and 41 times faster than manual labour.

“With the labour constraints being experienced in the construction industry globally, and the ability to significantly reduce overall construction times and costs, we are on track to deliver a compelling efficiency gain to the industry while keeping clay, AAC and cement masonry blocks as the fastest, cheapest and most durable wall production materials into the future,” Pivac says.

“We are very much on track to achieve our goal, which is that the Hadrian will be the fastest, cheapest, safest and lowest waste way to erect low rise structural wall anywhere in the world.”

FBR has revealed an ambitious rollout of the technology with plans to launch it to the US market in calendar 2023. FBR intends to complete build demonstrations with assistance from major block suppliers in the US, which is the company’s largest market globally.

In March, FBR raised $9.1 million from UK-based shareholder M&G Investment Management to fund the development and deployment of three Hadrian X robots to the US. At the time, the company revealed that the procurement process for US-spec bricklaying machines had begun.

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