Posted By:Infra Bazaar
Looking back at the days when Ready-Mix-Concrete was trying to replace the traditional site mixed concrete, that was the period where the construction industry got it’s major overhaul in terms of operations. Slow, inefficient and painful process of mixing the ingredients at site in the required precision was not just tough for the semi-skilled site labour, but also tough to monitor. RMC plants made the foray into the Indian market and slowly gained the pace. Ofcourse RMC industry had it’s initial tough days trying to penetrate into the cost conscious Indian market, but the sustainable advantages in terms of avoiding the handling difficulty and controlled quality of material out-ran the short-term and shallow acceptance issues. Ultimately RMC has became a standard now and the plant batching is now considered a safer and better way to handle the concrete needs of any project.
Construction steel is on a similar juncture now. A new product-cum-service offering called ‘Prefabricated Reinforcing Mesh’ or ‘Welded Wire Mesh’ is around the corner to change the way construction steel will be executed at projects. WWM is already adopted in Europe and Middle East and it was a good success due to its multitude in advantages. The traditional process of executing construction steel is by procuring the steel rebars to site and deploying a steel labour team in order to cut them to desired lengths, bend, lay them at the appropriate locations and finally tie them manually with a binding steel wire. Though the process has a good vintage and proven results, the problem of non-availability of labour is complicating the situation. It requires a skilled executive to monitor and approve the tied steel at site and also the whole process of maintaining a labour camp is too tedious. Moreover there will be significant steel wastage which will be accrued due to cutting from standard lengths of the steel rebars.
‘Welded Wire Mesh’ solves all these problems. Instead of procuring standard rebars to construction site (which demands storage space and security against theft), coils of rebars will be procured by the ‘Welded Wire Mesh’ factory. Steel of required length can be extracted from the coil which ultimately achieves zero wastage and saves a lot of cost. These extracted bars are subjected to cold rolling (for strength accrual) and cut into desired final lengths as per the drawings provided by the stakeholders from client team. These bars are placed in the form of grids which are akin to lateral and longitudinal rebars at site. These grids are then welded with a mechanical unit, thus making a strong single monolithic mesh which is similar to construction reinforcement laid at site. Since the bars are not simply tied with binding wire, the mesh is more durable than a typical reinforcement laying mechanism. The edges of this mesh can be bent according to site needs.
Finally the processed rebar mesh is attached with a non-tearable notation slip which prompts the location of placement and the specification of the mesh with respect to the site drawings. The mesh is finally loaded on to a transportation truck and is delivered safely to the construction site. There is no need to deploy a full scale labour team to operate steel anymore at site. A fraction of the previous workforce is enough to lift the mesh and to place it at the required location. Also the effort of checking and clearances is very easy and fast as the whole design is factory achieved and there minimal room for deviations.
This whole process is very clean and requires minimal coordination as compared to traditional reinforcement tying process. The time required to complete a typical slab area or a standard tonnage is far lesser than that of labour driven process. Importantly, the whole proposition of Welded Wire Mesh turns out to be cost saving when we can aim for a design efficiency as the diameters available in the mesh are far more as compared to traditional TMT rebars. Hence this type of operations are slowly getting introduced into the market by a few companies and also started gaining traction. These can be a great advantage to projects with aluminium shuttering, grade slabs, retaining walls, etc. Ultimately, the construction industry is on the brink of another major overhaul after RMC adoption.