Startup Tvasta and Civil Engg Dept, IIT Madras, collaborate to develop it
The IIT Madras faculty and alumni have developed what they claim is India’s first 3D printing construction technology, and have successfully built the first 3D printed structure. Tvasta Manufacturing Solutions, an emerging additive manufacturing startup, and Civil Engineering Department, IIT Madras, have established a 3D printing lab called the IIT Madras Printability Lab to take this indigenously-developed technology to the mass market.
Tvasta aspires to automate construction, including placement of reinforcements and finishing, by re-envisioning the construction process. It aims to develop a platform and a specific process to build a miniature single-storey house of 320-sq ft within three days. A prototype that has been printed at IIT Madras will serve a base foundational model for accelerating R&D.
Prof Koshy Varghese, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “We have been working on developing 3D printing technology in the area of construction since 2016 and have conducted international workshops and awareness sessions for this in Chennai. In addition, the institute is exploring automated construction methods and novel formwork systems for rapid housing construction.”
IIT Madras has also worked on other housing technologies such as GFRG (glass fibre reinforced gypsum) and cold-formed steel, which are now at a mature stage and can enable rapid construction to cater to India’s massive housing demands. Prof Varghese said that IIT Madras is collaborating with government agencies and industry to disseminate knowledge and establish standards, policies and processes to bring these technologies to the field.
Prof Manu Santhanam, Department of Civil Engineering, who has been working with Tvasta, added, “3D printing of concrete adds a new dimension to construction, and can best meet complex demands of modern architecture with concrete.”
3D printing can help print structures that were not possible using conventional technologies. Going forward, Tvasta will build India’s first 3D printed house within a year. Adithya VS, co-founder of Tvasta, said, “3D printing in construction will be primarily focused towards the Housing for All scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and construction of toilets for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. We are working with stakeholders in the construction industry to make 3D printing viable.”