Monthly Archives: July 2018

Top Contractors Use New Tech to Meet Demand | ENR

When evaluating the Midwest’s largest contractors, it is clear that there is no one formula for success. Like a good financial portfolio, the key is to diversify.

The top 10 firms on ENR’s Top Contractors list have their largest projects spread across six different states. Project types range from professional sports arenas to high school renovations to redeveloped affordable housing to downtown Chicago high-rises.

The 100 respondents to this year’s list earned $37.74 billion in regional revenue in 2017. That’s only slightly higher than the $34.9 billion earned by the 92 respondents last year.

Nevertheless, many firms still saw a jump in revenue and number of employees. Southfield, Mich.-based Barton Malow Co. remained in the list’s top five (No. 4 overall) thanks to high-profile local projects such as Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and the $86-million, 140,000-sq-ft expansion of Romeo (Michigan) High School.


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Bricklaying robot, first in Alabama, helps with construction at Auburn | AL.COM

SAM, a brick-laying robot, is assisting with the construction of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University.

SAM100, short for Semi-Automated Mason, will be the first of its kind in Alabama. It lays more than 3,000 bricks per day, using a conveyor belt and a robotic arm. Auburn University and Construction Robotics have partnered together to bring SAM to life on campus.

Construction Robotics, located in Victor, New York, created SAM to “leverage human jobs, not replace them.” According to the MIT Technology Review, human masons can lay 300 to 500 bricks a day — three times less than SAM.

SAM will be operated by C&C Masonry, Inc. Masons work around SAM to reload bricks and mortar into the machine while cleaning the bricks placed by SAM’s robotic arm.

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center is 23 percent complete and will be completed in August 2019. The center will be located across from the Jule Collins Museum of Fine Art.


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A robot that lays bricks? AU puts one to work in construction of performing arts center | Opelika-Auburn News

Auburn University is incorporating a robot into the construction of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center.

Construction Robotics’ SAM100, short for Semi-Automated Mason, a bricklaying robot capable of placing more than 3,000 bricks per day, was showcased at the construction site Monday morning.

The robot is the first commercially available bricklaying robot for onsite masonry construction.

Utilizing a conveyor belt and a robotic arm, SAM removes the repetitive task of laying bricks, while masons work around it to reload bricks and mortar into the machine and clean around the bricks placed by SAM.

C&C Masonry worked with the university and Rabren General Contractors to bring SAM to Auburn. This is the first time the robot has been utilized in Alabama.

Scott Cunningham, president of C&C Masonry, said his company was attending the World of Concrete event in Las Vegas when they learned of SAM from the robotics company.

“We got to talking with them and running some numbers and looking at the technology they had come up with and decided that we wanted to try to find a project that it would work on,” Cunningham said. “Automatically, this job here at Auburn University came into our mind because of the complexity of the pattern that we’re putting on the building.”

‘Something great’

Members of the C&C Masonry team completed a week’s worth of training in Rochester, New York, and recently began working with the robot at the performing arts center.

The center is 23 percent complete and scheduled to open in August 2019.

Cunningham said SAM has allowed C&C to better utilize their resources.

“The technology and just the ability of it, to be able to program the system to operate the robot, it just took a lot of the leg work and the manual strain out of the brick-laying,” Cunningham said. “You actually program in the pattern, load it into the software, and it just does what you tell it to do.”

On Monday, one foreman, a mason and two laborers worked alongside the robot.

“If we didn’t have SAM up there, we would probably have to have more like four or five masons up there doing that role and probably another foreman watching to make sure that design gets done right,” said Antonio Hamilton, C&C Masonry superintendent. “With SAM having that design program in its system, it takes the load off of the masons, foremen and also our management.”

Hamilton added that he believes the new technology will help bring a younger generation into the masonry profession.

“A trade like masonry, with the history of masonry and as long as it dates back, involving today’s technology into it, it’s something great,” he said.

Chris Heacox, director of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, said the center is looking to be in on the forefront of innovation.

“This is just one part of the mission of our university and how we operate, and it’s one part of how we’re going to operate in the state as well,” Heacox said. “So, not only do we have this great technology to be able to create this facility, there’s going to be amazing technology inside the building.”

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Robot helps build Performing Arts Center one brick at a time | The Auburn Plainsman

Construction is well underway at the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center. As the building continues to grow, the construction team is getting some non-human help.

Construction Robotics’ brick-laying robot SAM100, which stands for Semi-Automatic Mason, is in Auburn placing bricks at the Performing Arts Center.

Rabren General Contractors Inc. are the contractors for the Performing Arts Center, and they have partnered with C&C Masonry, who is leasing SAM, for the project.

“For us its all about efficiency and the quality of the work,” Matt Hearn, senior project manager for Rabren General Contractors Inc. “We partner up with C&C on multiple jobs. We have a great relationship. So when C&C came to us with the idea of the robot we all sat down around a table and discussed what the benefits were.”

Hearn and his team at Rabren want to be innovative and on the forefront of technology, especially with this project.

“Being that this is the first time we’ve seen it and the first time in Alabama, for us it’s about pushing the envelope with the industry,” Hearn said. “Through our partnerships with the University, the architects and C&C on this job it’s been a great opportunity to bring this kind of technology to the state and see it in action.”

C&C Masonry is leasing SAM from Construction Robotics. C&C Masonry met with Construction Robotics at the World of Concrete, an event dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries, in Las Vegas in 2018 where they learned about SAM.

C&C Masonry decided the Performing Arts Center project would be a great first project for them to use SAM for.

“It has a software that you load the pattern in on a computer system,” said Scott Cunningham, president of C&C Masonry. “So you build the wall in your computer, transfer it to the tablet and it tells SAM where windows are, controls joints. Anything that’s in that wall, he automatically calculates it and then he’ll lay the wall as you laid it out.”

Currently, SAM can do any pattern but cannot work around corners or do large offsets in walls. That’s why the Performing Arts Center was a great fit to use SAM for, Cunningham said.

“The building lent itself to the situation with the complexity of the job and SAM has fit right in for it,” Hearn said.

This is the first time C&C Masonry has used SAM for any construction project. There are members of the C&C Masonry and Construction Robotics teams on site to assist with operating SAM.

“With the tablet, you align the laser,” said Antonio Hamilton, the superintendent onsite for C&C Masonry. “You have a laser on one end and a pole on the other end that receives the laser to make sure SAM lays the bricks in a straight line.”

The tablet allows the operator to follow SAM’s path and make sure it is laying the bricks according to the plan on the tablet. The tablet also allows the operator to black out certain bricks, such as bricks that would cover the scaffolding ties, so SAM does not lay them, Hamilton said.

SAM uses a conveyor belt and a robotic arm to place approximately 3,000 bricks per day. Once the bricks are laid, masons reload bricks and mortar into SAM and clean around the bricks SAM has already laid.

“The tablet will also give you messages if something goes wrong with SAM,” Hamilton said. “Maybe a misfeed, when too many bricks try to go down through the conveyer belt, or the mortar is too soft or hard. That tablet lets you know.”

The tablet is also connected to Construction Robotics’ office in New York. A team in New York with Construction Robotics can turn on the tablet camera to communicate with SAM’s operator if there are any problems with SAM, Hamilton said.

SAM has been on site for several weeks now and has had minimal problems that were easily resolved, Cunningham said.

C&C Masonry and Construction Robotics have worked together closely on this project to ensure everything goes smoothly.

“Construction Robotics has had a man on site with us for the last two weeks just to help us with anything that we may not know about the machine yet,” Cunningham said. “Overall, its running really well and doing as we’ve expected.”


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Auburn University is first in Alabama to use masonry robot | CBS

AUBURN, Ala (WRBL) – The construction of Auburn University’s Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center is getting help from robotics.

The SAM100 from Construction Robotics is being used to lay bricks on the new building. Sam, as the workers call ‘him’, can lay 3,000 bricks per day. Mason’s work alongside Sam to load bricks and mortar.

SAM, or Semi-Automated Mason, is operated through an iPad.


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