Tybot robot performs tedious job of tying rebar on bridge decks

Updated Nov 10, 2017
Photo: Advanced Construction Robotics Inc.Photo: Advanced Construction Robotics Inc.

Steve Muck, CEO and chairman of Brayman Construction Corp., teamed up with Jeremy Searock, former technical program manager at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center, to create Advanced Construction Robotics Inc., a new company that has produced an autonomous robot called Tybot that can do the tedious job of tying rebar for bridge decks under the supervision of only one worker, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Tybot works on a frame that can expand up to 140 feet across a bridge. The robotic arm ties the rebars together at each intersection, which the company estimates will cut labor hours in half.

Muck says the new product can also reduce construction injuries associated with tying rebar.

“This was the problem that was at the forefront of my mind,” he told the news agency. “The process of finding workers has become more and more difficult in the last 10 years. [Tybot] both speeds up the work and reduces the number of people to do it. This is the construction industry looking to the robotics industry for a solution to a business problem.”

Searock told the news agency, “This is a very boring robot that has great application and profitability.”

Tybot was recently demonstrated during bridge construction on Freedom Road in Beaver County, Pa. Jim Foringer, acting executive for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s District 11, said the system shows promise, like other technological advances. “A lot of this will take the human error and human judgment out of the work,” he told the news agency. “The more efficient a contractor can be, that can only benefit the agency.”

Muck told the news agency that he expects to begin selling Tybots in the spring of 2018 through Tybots LLC and license it to another manufacturer in the future, as he said, “We don’t really want to develop and manufacture robots on a commercial basis.”