At an increasing rate, engineering and construction firms are actively seeking new technology solutions, while also using technology to more strategically managing organisational risks. Contractors are breaking out of their comfort zones and helping workers to embrace these changes.

Digitisation, advanced technology, technology adoption and so on have been the buzz words across industries for quite some time now. Today, the adoption of technology in building material industry has increased significantly. Companies realise the true potential of leveraging new age methods to improve their production capabilities, reduce operational costs and streamline the manufacturing and delivery processes.

Let us take a look at some of the critical areas where digitisation and automation have been strong and how it has helped the building material industry:

The production process in Ready Mix Concrete (RMC)

One of the crucial intervention of technology has been right at the foundation of any construction – creating ready mix concrete. Gone are the days when mixing of cement and transportation of this mix to higher floors in any construction was handled manually. Building material manufacturing companies have been using precise and automatic processes for producing concrete mix. The dynamic process facilitates the production of a customised mix as per unique requirements of the construction and ensures consistency in this concrete mix for any number of batches. Highly efficient pumping technology enables easy and fast transportation of this mix to higher floors.

Manufacturing and packing process of tiles

A lot of progress has happened in the tile segment, wherein application of technologies like artificial intelligence and robotic process automation has helped improve production capabilities. Many companies are completely automating the process of mixing raw materials, cutting & polishing tiles and segmenting & packing tile units. This has helped them ensure uniform quality across their products. Introduction of digital printing technology in tiles has expanded the range of designs that can be produced. This advancement enables tile manufacturers to print any design their customer wants, without disturbing other important features of the given tile. The use of nanotechnology in polishing has even given tiles more sheen, surface consistency and durability.

Implementing international standards

Gone are the days of wood and steel as a preferred choice for doors and windows. Today uPVC and aluminium are the most sought after materials. While windows and doors made of uPVC and aluminium are totally recyclable, they require very less maintenance and their average life is much more as compared to similar products made of wood. The industry has been using advanced German and Italian technologies to manufacture doors & windows with absolute precision and without much human intervention. And this has yielded many benefits for this segment, such as:

1) Increased scope for customisation

2) Uniform finish in look and feel

3) Enhanced durability and quality

4) Given the room for experimenting with designs & efficient locking systems.

Significantly improve the quality of raw materials

Just like any other industry, the core aspect of building material products is the quality of raw materials that goes into each of them. Adoption of technology has enabled companies to magnanimously improve the superiority of the raw materials that they use. New machines equipped with automation technology can produce Crushed Rock Fines and Manufactured Sand. While the manufactured sand is a highly cost-effective alternative to river sand which is used in bulk quantities in various construction projects, it also helps in saving the river beds and reduce the environmental impact of excavating river sand.  

While the adoption of technology is gradually happening in the building material sector, there is still a long way to go. The past few months, driven by the ongoing pandemic, have reiterated the need for us to be technologically sound and adept. Thus building materials companies need to augment their technology, both for production and on-ground operations. This will not only help them to improve their overall business manoeuvres but also help to mitigate any workforce crisis like the one faced recently.

This article is contributed by T Chandrashekar, Director-Technical, Aparna Enterprises Limited, for 99 acres.