Advancement in technology is making building construction easier, says M.A. Siraj
Newer technologies that are making forays into construction are rendering the task painless in more ways than one. Be it cordless machines, remote controllers, laser technology or 3-D animation, the builders are inducting them into their works on a daily basis.
It no longer requires engineers or architects to walk up and down all the way with a measuring tape between two distant pillars in a 100-metre hall. Hand-held, calculator type Laser Range Finders can do the job in a jiffy. Press a button and a laser beam falling on the distant pillar would show the length or the width on a small LCD monitor. If need be the same could be had in feet and inches too. These Finders are particularly helpful in measuring the height of curving or sloping roofs or inside stairwells from every imaginable position. The Laser Range Finders, manufactured by Bosch, can measure distances ranging between 40 and 250 metres and are priced between Rs. 4,500 and Rs. 38,000.
But that is not all. The laser technology is finding varied uses. A tripod-mounted Laser Level Finder can help engineers ensure uniformity of level of the compound walls over a wide outdoor area. Similarly, a Floor Surface Laser can ensure floor flatness and detect even very minor discrepancies in tile-laying. If held to the walls, they can point out smoothness of walls too. The technology has helped Bosch to come up with Angle Measurers and Inclinometers too which can precisely measure the angle between two surfaces to the fraction of even a single degree. These equipment ensure that the two walls meant to join at the right angle are not meeting at 87 degrees.
Shoulder-held Demolition Hammers often caused shoulder pains for labourers in the past. Bosch has now come up with vibration-free Hammers which can be used for demolition work continuously for eight hours with two minutes of break after every 30 minutes.
Inadequacy of drill machines led Bangalore-based entrepreneur Anil Kumar to devise his own Metal Core-drilling Machine which can drill into a 50 mm MS (mild steel) sheet in a mere three minutes. To boot, the machine cuts wastage as the extracted metal does not come out in filings but as solid pieces which can be used for making nuts and bolts instead of being sold as waste. Anil, who earlier worked for the American power tool manufacturer Black & Decker, set up his Bharat Electric Company in Peenya Industrial Estate in Bangalore and developed the Core-drilling Machine two years ago and has sold 50 of them in the Indian market. According to him, the conventional pedestal drilling machine weighs around one tonne, while his device weighs merely 19 kg.
Those who have been looking for outdoor drilling machines may find their prayers acknowledged in Hitachi Koki’s cordless, battery-operated drilling machines that can be taken to farms, deserts or boats on the rivers. Shock-proof, these can even work during rains. These are heavy duty machines that could also be employed to tighten bolts at a speed of 500 bolts per hour. These can work ceaselessly for two hours. According to Ranjeet, Sales Engineer with Hitachi Koki, the cordless drilling machines were introduced in the Indian market two years ago.
Building and maintaining huge facilities such as halls, malls and factory sheds requires lifting platforms to reach overhead electric installation, air-conditioning ducts, or even glass panels. Right Engineers and Equipments India has stepped into fulfilling this need with an electrically operated Aerial Platform that can rise up to a height of 18 metres, although ones that can rise up to four metres are more sought after in all such facilities. Heavy engineering units of L&T and ITC and even ISRO have been regular buyers with Right Engineers, says A.R.M. Vageesh, assistant manager for marketing.
While hardware is evolving with each passing day, software has also started making inroads into the designing and interiors.
Says Rajesh K.P., Chief Technological Officer and founder of the Pixals, interactive 3-D sketches of proposed homes and office spaces could be previewed through animation on computer till the last details such as colour of tiles, walls, angle of slopes of roof, door and window frames and sink and flushes and even the minute ones such as use of hinges, clamps and nails.
A start-up, Rajesh set up his firm in 2005 which can enable architects visualise the architecture in its entirely.
The technology also helps fill gaps in aesthetics. Quality Automations has introduced Portugal-made Sectional Garage Doors, with sections stitched together seamlessly. While automatic slide gates have been there for some time, the Motorized Swing Gates have appeared on the scene recently.
With the decade just past having seen a construction boom, the newer gizmos and gadgets promise to reduce the human input, making it less arduous. These decidedly enable the builders to save on the cost and conserve wastage.