Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw virtually inaugurated the post office, the construction through 3D Printing carried out by Larsen & Toubro Limited with technological support from IIT Madras.
Source: Indulge Express
Union Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw on 18 August 2023 dedicated to the nation India’s first 3D-printed post office located in Bengaluru’s Cambridge Layout.
The post office, which was virtually inaugurated by the Union minister from the General Post Office building, was completed in just 43 days – two days ahead of its deadline. Its construction was carried out by Larsen & Toubro Limited with technological support from IIT Madras under the guidance of Professor Manu Santhanam, Building Technology and Construction Management Division, Department of Civil Engineering.
“Bengaluru always presents a new picture of India. The new picture that you saw today in terms of this 3D-printed post office building, that’s the spirit of India today. That’s the spirit with which our country is progressing today,” Minister Vaishnaw said.
The post office covers a built-up area of 1,021 sqft. Its construction was carried out using 3D concrete printing technology which is a fully automated building construction technology wherein a robotic printer deposits the concrete layer by layer as per the approved design, and special grade concrete – which hardens quickly – is used to ensure bonding between the layers for the purpose of printing the structure.
George Abraham, Head of Operations (south and east), L&T, explained, “It is because of the robotic intervention that involves pre-embedded designs, that we were able to complete the entire construction activity in a period of 43 days as compared to about 6-8 months taken by conventional method.”
The construction was also carried out at a cost of Rs 23 lakh, around 30-40% less compared to the cost involved in conventional methods.
Elaborating on the critical requirements for concrete 3D Printing, Prof Santhanam stated, “The project primarily involves machines and robots which are indigenous, but needs to be scaled up in the coming days. The special concrete material used for this project provides pumpability, extrudability, buildability and is powered with mechanical properties.”
IIT Madras and L&T conducted several meetings in the run-up to the construction of the post office. Prof Ravindra Gettu from IIT-M was involved as a primary advisor who guided the comparability of the proposed 3D-printed technology with conventional construction. He also assessed the detailed techno-commercial proposal by L&T.
Other participants from IIT-M included professors Meher Prasad and Pradeep Pratapa who overlooked the assessment of material and structural design, construction methodology and schedule and approval of design and construction concepts. Gettu also conducted six site visits for assessing on site quality and providing guidance on curing and other technical matters, explained Santhanam.
Santhanam also highlighted that the project has no vertical joints and it involved continuous printing of the full perimeter. The 3D Printing technology which was actually imported from Denmark for the post office project was also flexible to incorporate curved surfaces and adapt to site dimensions, showing no constraints of plane walls.
The technology also enabled continuous reinforced concrete footing and three-layer walls with outer layers printed with concrete and the middle being reinforced concrete. The final construction schedule came down to just 43 days, much shorter than conventional construction methods and with less material wastage.
According to the developers, 3D Printing’s USP is to enable individual customisation of the structure which can play an integral role in housing-related construction. 3D Printing also enables incorporation of weather-proofing as well as utilities within the walls for more efficient construction. Thus allowing the delivery of quality houses anywhere, including in difficult terrains.
In fact, Rajendra Kumar, Chief Postmaster General of Karnataka Circle, stated that the larger goal is to find the 3D Printing technology’s utility in housing.
“Primarily, we are looking at building post offices with low-cost construction options using 3D Printing technology. We feel this is the technology for the future which may trigger interest in low-cost housing, which is our secondary interest. There are plans to construct post offices across 400 vacant sites across the state, where postal services are not accessible. But it will only take off after submitting a detailed report on the first 3D-printed post office,” said Kumar.
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