In 2015, Stephen Muck was sitting in a Carnegie Mellon University seminar on robotics, and he could not stop thinking about how the technology might benefit the construction industry, which suffers from a labor shortage, especially for backbreaking work like tying rebar. Within two years, he had recruited several CMU staff, launched Tybot LLC and saw the eponymous machine tie rebar on more than 5,000 sq ft of new bridge deck for Muck’s firm, Brayman Construction.

Stephen MuckStephen M. Muck
Allison Park, Pa.
ENR 11/20/17 p. 37
Bringing automation technology to construction with a prototype rebar-tying robot.

A former investment banker, Muck bought Brayman 25 years ago and learned construction “through the school of hard knocks,” he says. Since then, the contractor has completed a number of unique projects, including the Ironton-Russell Bridge, the first in the U.S. to use a precast stay-anchor system, and the Hulton Bridge, which featured the first use in Pennsylvania of a strand-jack system to erect a 284-ft-long, 1,200-ton steel bridge section.

Accomplished through partnerships with designers such as VSL and Figg, these types of projects “highlight our approach of innovative solutions through combining abilities,” he says. He subsequently put that strategy into practice by recruiting CMU’s Jeremy Searock to co-found Tybot.

“I was looking for an opportunity to build autonomous robots that would competently do work in the real world on a daily basis,” says Searock. “I was impressed with Steve’s broad vision for the future of the construction industry and his ideas on how to provide immediate solutions to today’s problems that robots are ready to help solve.” 

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