Australia’s one-armed bricklaying robot just established a beachhead in the US

Fastbrick’s robot laying a brick. Supplied
  • Former Caterpillar executive Steve Pierz has been appointed Chief Innovation Officer at Perth-based Fastbrick Robotics.
  • Pierz joins after 29 years at Caterpillar in engineering and leadership roles.
  • His appointment establishes a Fastbrick office in US to lead North American expansion.

Fastbrick Robotics, the maker of the one-armed robot bricklayer, has hired American Steve Pierza, a former senior executive at giant machinery maker Caterpillar, as Chief Innovation Officer based in the US.

Pierz worked at Caterpillar for 29 years with roles in engineering, product design and management, most recently as Strategy and Innovation Manager at Caterpillar’s headquarters in Illinois.

He has been consulting the Perth-based Fastbrick for the last few months. He was responsible for a Strategic Collaboration Agreement the Company recently signed with premier Mexican builder GP Vivienda.

At the close, Fastbrick shares were up 3% to $0.17.

Caterpillar last year invested $US2 million ($AU2.6 million) in Fastbrick. Earlier this month Caterpillar and Fastbrick extended the term of a Memorandum of Understanding signed 12 months ago. Caterpillar now has the option to buy $US10 million ($AU13.5 million) in shares at $0.24 until the end of January 2019.

“We are privileged to have secured the services of Mr Pierz to spearhead innovation at FBR,” says Fastbrick CEO Mike Pivac.

“Steve is a high quality individual and will be a fantastic addition to the team, given his experience and his approach to innovation and continuous development.

“Further, the establishment of a permanent US office is a big milestone for our company, and I’m excited for the commercial and development opportunities that presence will bring to FBR.”

Pierz said: “FBR’s technology and drive to create change has excited me from the moment I was introduced to the Company, and I am thrilled to be joining in a full time capacity.”

Fastbrick is currently testing a commercial version of its robot brickaying machine, Hadrian X, which will cost about $2 million when it goes into full production in 2019.

The Hadrian X requires minimal human interaction and works day and night, laying up to 1,000 bricks an hour — about the output of two human bricklayers for a day.

The prototype Hadrian 105 robot, the first of its kind, can be seen in action below: