A rebar-tying robot recently helped to boost productivity and worker safety on a bridge project in Wisconsin.
TyBOT enabled the human crew from Waukesha, Wisconsin-based rebar subcontractor MKE Iron Erectors to complete work on the IH-39 Structure B-11-166 bridge in Columbia County. TyBOT accomplished 17,823 ties in two shifts in late April across a 7,775-square-foot area.
Introduced in 2018 by Pittsburgh-based Advanced Construction Robotics, the machine ties reinforcing steel at a rate of over 1,100 ties per hour, per a release. Construction workers typically complete between 150 and 250 ties per hour, according to one estimate.
“Having TyBOT on our jobsite was a major asset to our crew as they finished the project on time and on budget,” said Barb Sheedy, president and owner of MKE, in the release.
The use of the robot also brought health and safety benefits for workers, she said.
“Less tying means they will experience less physical stress, possibly extending their careers while avoiding strain injuries,” Sheedy said.
TyBOT self-navigates, self-ties and does not require programming or BIM plan input from the working crew, according to the firm. With the Wisconsin project, it has now completed 3.5 million ties on more than 40 jobs in 12 different states including Pennsylvania and Florida.
The company’s other product, IronBOT, can lift, carry and install a 5,000-pound bundle of rebar in one hour. Its inaugural project was completed in February on the Port St. Lucie West Boulevard Bridge in Florida with Reddick, Florida-based contractor Shelby Erectors. The work was completed in seven days, half the time originally estimated for traditional installation.
Working in tandem, the two bots can revolutionize the installation of reinforcing steel, according to ACR founder Stephen Muck.
“We are confident the combination of TyBOT and IronBOT generates a disruptive technology, meaning the time and cost savings are so significant on a job that it will disrupt the way our industry installs reinforcing steel,” said Muck in a press release announcing the launch of the IronBOT at this year’s ConEXPO event in Las Vegas.