In the capital city of Chhattisgarh state, Naya Raipur, the government has decided to build 40,000 housing units for the lower income segments with precast technology. The first contract was awarded to the Indian construction company BSBK Group for 6,300 housing units. The company was required to design the building and infrastructure, and complete the project as a whole. Construction work is currently ongoing.
“The best technology is precast technology,” said V.R. Chetty, vice president of BSBK Group. “You have to construct so many houses within such a short time period, so there will be a huge requirement of labour, which is not possible. Secondly, there’s issue with quality: compared to conventional systems, the quality of precast technology is much better.”
BSBK has executed a wide variety of projects in civil steel engineering, industrial and public buildings, hospitals, roads and bridges. However, the Naya Raipur project is different as it has a time frame of just 36 months. .
“This is a turnkey project, which includes the design and construction of the building along with the associated facilities,“ explained Shirang Gupta, business development executive at BSBK. “Seeing the quantum of construction required and the short time frame, we decided to go for precast technology.”
Finnish precast technology supplier Elematic understood BSBK’s requirements and proposed its Semi precast plant, which consists of Semi floor and Semi wall line. The plant came to the expected budget and produces precast elements as per daily production requirements.
Usually it takes at least six to seven months to install and commission a precast plant - but due the tight time frame, the precast plant in Naya Raipur was installed in record time, said Elematic. Manufacturing of moulds and machinery in India and Finland started in March 2016 and the plant was completed in August 2016.
“The plant was partially supplied from India and till the time Finnish machinery arrived, Indian machinery and tables were installed. It helped them to start production in record time,” said Sumedh Gupta, business development manager at Elematic.
The precast plant at Naya Raipur consists of Elematic Semi hollow-core slab line with four beds, an extruder and a sawpreparer as well as a Semi wall line with 20 tilting KVT tables, 15 mechanical tables, staircase moulds and casting skips. The total concrete volume produced every day is around 150 cu m.
“Semi floor line is an ideal investment to start with precast construction, because it does not involve much automation but still produces high-quality panels,” said Mr Gupta (Sumedh).
Semi lines offer an effective alternative that can efficiently produce up to 600 sq ft per day, and production does not require in-depth knowledge of the staff, according to Elematic.
“Earlier, if one had large-scale precast production requirements, either they had to go with individual hydraulic tables or a circulation line which requires a bigger initial investment and skilled labour for operations,” continued Mr Gupta (Sumedh). “Once Elematic introduced the Semi production lines for precast walls and floors, it became possible to start using precast as a building method without any big investment to the production equipment.
“With Semi wall line, all the tables are manufactured in India and only the wagon is being imported from Finland. It helps to reduce lead time and requires a lower initial investment.”
Semi wall line can produce various precast wall panels such as load bearing walls, facades, sandwich wall panels and solid panels. The line consists of tables and a special KVT wagon that takes care of compaction, vibration and tilting operations and caters up to 20 tables easily.
In order to understand how precast technology works, BSBK attended seminars and international exhibitions in China and India (Mumbai and Bangalore). The company’s directors also went to actual sites to see and understand what type of machines would suit best for their needs.
“In the field of precast technology and equipment, Elematic is pioneer. The machines and service are very good. It is also a very important factor that Elematic has a proper technical support team,” said Mr Chetty.
“After purchasing it, we are satisfied with the performance of all the machines,” added Rohit Singh, vice president for plant and machinery at BSBK Group.
The future of precast technology looks bright in India and it may be able to help solve the country’s housing crisis. Already around 24 million houses are reportedly planned to be built with precast technology.
“We would like to set up more advanced plant for precast technology, and to provide more jobs, so that we can expand the precast technology in a proper way and gradually enter the private sector too,” said Mr Chetty.