Caterpillar will invest $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics Limited per a 12-month Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The two companies will "discuss and develop a potential framework for collaboration regarding the development, manufacturing, sales, and services of Fastbrick Robotics’ robotic bricklaying technology," according to Fastbrick. The MOU also establishes a strategic alliance board to consider how best to offer this FBR Technology to Caterpillar’s construction customers.
The MOU includes an option for Caterpillar to add $8 million later if Fastbrick shareholders approve.
The Fastbrick Robot, named Hadrian X, unveiled in 2015, has a truck-mounted 98-foot boom arm and takes direction from a 3D CAD program. As the program advances, Hadrian X cuts and places up to 1,000 bricks per hour, precisely setting them according to the structure's specs. Mortar and other building adhesives are fed to the bricks via a nozzle in the boom head. The boom auto-corrects itself 1,000 times per second to prevent interference from vibrations or sway. The concept is similar to the additive manufacturing process used by 3D printers.
Fastbrick Robotics CEO Mike Pivac said, “Fastbrick Robotics is delighted to sign a MOU with Caterpillar and welcomes the company as a new shareholder. Caterpillar is a globally recognised industry leader, and we look forward to collaborating with the company and uniting our teams to share ideas, pursue innovation and explore opportunities to commercialise our unique technology.”
The first commercial versions of the Hadrian X robot are estimated to be released by the end of 2017.