Value Added Products the Differentiator in Building Materials Industry
The fast-paced and highly competitive global business environment of today has made disruption and innovation a necessity for all businesses and operations. Fuelled by technology, several sectors are experiencing accelerated growth, prompting a marked rise in innovation in business as well as products and services. In this regard, the real estate and construction sector, however, is still dependent largely on depleting non-renewable materials like sand, timber, and the like, which is an alarming indicator of a serious scarcity of resources in the years to come. Thus, today, it is of utmost importance to make the best use of the technology and innovation available, to ensure a sustainable future for the sector, primarily by utilizing value-added products and playing with the design aspects.
Value-added products are aimed at enhancing the value of the end user, and specifically designed taking into account the difficulties encountered while using conventional products, so as to mitigate or eliminate them. As a result, they are highly disruptive in nature and are able to cater to the needs of the future, while enhancing the scope and opportunity of playing around with shapes and configurations for architects and structural designers. One such product is Microfiber cement – one of the most advanced forms of cement available, microfiber technology helps the cement act as a reinforcing agent with extra binding power, so that the structure can resist seepage, dampness, cracks, and shrinkage in the years to come. A unique premium cement, pre-dose and pre-homogenized with microfiber, resulting in micro reinforcement of the ‘sand – cement’ matrix to minimize microcracks and ensure higher durability. This makes it suitable for all construction jobs around the structure while increasing service life and reducing the maintenance costs as well.
Another important innovation in the construction sector, high-performance concrete, extensively used in the construction of complex buildings and infrastructure projects. The concrete is developed keeping in mind the complexities of cement, binder, aggregates, water, admixture, and other materials, so as to meet the specific needs and requirements of the structure being developed. At present we are pumping C95/M120 Self Compacting Concrete with minimal creeping and shrinkage to the 100th floor of premium property in Lower Parel (Mumbai), as well as supplying M50 high early strength concrete for tunnel segments of the upcoming Mumbai Metro with a corrosion free life of up to 150 years.
For many years, architects and structural engineers have demanded the best construction materials, which has led to out of the box thinking and development of complex design tools. As a result, self-compacting, levelling and placing concrete has been specially developed to make construction easy, fast and less labour skill dependent. Designed to help engineers and architects build unconventional and innovative buildings and projects, this is ideal for both vertical and horizontal elements and offers exceptional aesthetically pleasing finishes. Due to its fluidity and excellent consistency, this concrete was used in Nazrul Tirtha, Kolkata to transform the architectural design into a landmark project. The main gate has 8.5-meter high block of concrete, elevated on stilts, with Bengali letters ‘Unnata mama shir’ carved on it which means head held high. The letters in Bengali have sharp ends and curves, unlike the English letters which also bring unique challenges for letter embossing. Self-levelling concrete provides solutions and opportunities for design and placement. A fluid concrete that flows freely around congested steel reinforcement. Due to its fluidity, it eliminates the tedious chore of vibration. Thereby reducing work site noise levels.
To tackle the problem of storage and transportation of concrete, a ready-to-use wet concrete in 35 kg bags. Developed by utilizing cutting edge innovation in material chemistry and rheology study, it guarantees quality assurance and sustainable construction in the space of affordable housing, small repair work, and big construction sites where a low volume of concrete is required. It is premixed; hence no wastage of cement, sand, aggregates and water at the job site. Since it comes in bags and is premixed it easier to transport and use hence was the obvious choice for restoration of Mumbai’s oldest landmarks Elephanta Caves. The concrete had to be transported to mid-sea through boats. As the distance was too long the concrete was given longer retention time so that it does not set during transportation.
Repair and retrofitting of existing structures have become a major part of the construction activity in large part of India. Site mixing of dry mix micro concrete is a challenge faced by repair contractors and client as it requires skilled labour and high level of supervision during mixing and at the same time execution is very slow because of all these site activities. To overcome all these challenges in dry micro concrete, a ready to pour, pre-mixed, non-shrink wet micro concrete for repair and retrofitting of structures. Having grown hugely popular since its launch, wet-ready-to-use micro concrete is the result of incredible disruptive innovation in the repair segment, which is conventionally dominated by dry mix products.
Apart from these, there is decorative concrete which provides builders with the freedom of design, along with low maintenance and durability. It offers great looks and outstanding performance and is much more than just another concrete. Available in an array of amazing colours, patterns and textures, its subtle designs bring any location to life with vibrant colour and realistic texture like Sharda University in Delhi. Then there is lightweight concrete, a low density and thermally efficient concrete which offers an effective alternative to Brickbat Coba due to its quick turnaround time and consistent quality. It offers a density of 800-1800kg/m3 reducing the structural weight, that is the reason it came in handy during the construction of Amritsar entry gate dome where it was used as a screen over the cast iron lotus form. As such, not only is the role of high-performance, specialised material in the construction segment an undeniable part of modern society, sustained innovation and research into the field is vital to the further advancement of civilization as a whole. In relation to this, India, while having gained vast momentum in the sector, still needs to reinforce its efforts towards the discovery and adaptation of newer technologies, materials, and processes.
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