India Cements forges Strategic Collaboration with Deep Tech Startup Tvasta

CHENNAI : India Cements Ltd, one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of cement in South India and Chennai-based Deep Tech Startup Tvasta Manufacturing Solutions, which specializes in Construction 3D Printing, are forging a strategic collaboration, marking the beginning of an ‘Age of Sustainability’ in the Indian Construction Industry.

The collaboration will see India Cements and Tvasta engaging in dedicated R&D and synergetic exchange of technology-centric efforts to develop new raw material formulations used in 3D Printing applications and offering mutual strategic support for key projects that offer cost and time-effective, dwelling solutions to the diverse strata of society.

This pioneering partnership between the legacy organization and the spirited start-up is a first-of-its-kind for the construction industry in India. It is also well-aligned with the ‘Nation Building Initiative’ for India advocated by India Cements’ Managing Director Mr. N. Srinivasan.

Founded in 2016 by IIT Madras Alumni, Tvasta developed a ‘Made in India’ technology focusing on leveraging Automation and Robotics in 3D Printing Platforms for faster, economical and sustainable construction methods compared to conventional technologies. The start-up is currently based out of Chennai and Bengaluru.

India, being the third largest energy consuming country in the world, has a heavy reliance on traditional, fossil-based energy sources and as such, the trigger for adapting sustainable technologies is long overdue. Under this backdrop, Tvasta’s technology (Construction 3D printing) has amply demonstrated its viability as an energy-efficient construction method for various applications such as housing, sanitation, infrastructure and defense, among other areas.

The MoU was signed today (25th May 2022) by Ms. Rupa Gurunath, Whole-time Director, India Cements Limited and Mr. Vidyashankar C., Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Tvasta Manufacturing Solutions, in the presence of senior management team of India Cements Limited and co-founders and investors of Tvasta. Professors from IIT Madras were also present along with representatives of Third Derivative (USA), a global climate technology accelerator, joining through video conference.

Highlighting the unique aspects of this collaboration, Ms. Rupa Gurunath, Whole-time Director, India Cements, said, “With India having developed a vibrant start-up eco- system, we are delighted to forge partnership with Tvasta, a fast-paced 3D printing firm founded by IIT Madras Alumni. We are excited that this technology delivers cost-effective construction method that offers quicker turn arounds as compared to conventional methods. But what we are particularly enthusiastic about is that this methodology is more eco-friendly, with lesser consumption of water and sand, two of our most precious resources provided by Mother Nature. ‘Sustainability’ is a new phenomenon for the construction industry, and we are privileged that this partnership is just about to bring it within the easy reach of the common man in our country”.

Ms. Rupa Gurunath further added, “We recently celebrated our 75th anniversary. This relationship with Tvasta will be a new stimulus for the organization’s various initiatives on sustainability, going forward”.

The recent past has already seen India Cements offer tremendous support to Tvasta on raw materials for several of its projects which include ones at Jaisalmer and Gandhinagar for the Indian Air Force and a certain ongoing infrastructure project in Mumbai for a corporate entity.

Speaking about this strategic partnership, Mr. Vidyashankar C, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Tvasta Manufacturing Solutions, said, “We are excited to collaborate with a well-established, legacy organization like India Cements. We are confident that this partnership will significantly improve our technology’s orientation to sustainability, resulting in highly-efficient and targeted solutions. Not only will this lead to an expedited unification between technology, sustainability and construction in India, but with the support of India Cements, this will pave the way for such a unification in the global markets as well.”

Appreciating the strategic collaboration between India Cements and Tvasta, Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “The collaborations between legacy organizations and deep- tech startups will have significant impact on the construction industry in reducing carbon emission.”

Criticality & Relevance of ‘Sustainability’ in Construction industry

Human race is at a definitive brink, a precipice that is clamoring for responsible actions from us. As we stand at this defining moment, it is prudent to recognize that only certain decisive actions can ensure the symbiotic survival of all the inhabitants of the planet. With the burgeoning population placing extraordinary ecological demands on the planet, such actions are no longer optional.

Mr. Vidyashankar C added, “As the world nations are joining their hands together to combat this challenge, it is apparent that only an irrevocable commitment to adapt to sustainable means of manufacture, without compromising on quality or quantity would offer any chance. While most industry verticals have formulated strategies to minimize, if not eliminate, carbon footprint, construction industry is still working with decades-old methodologies.”

Under this milieu, the partnership between India Cements and Tvasta assumes high significance considering the 3D method of construction uses 30 percent less of water and sand, two precious resources.

This partnership is expected to provide an impetus for other such collaborations to happen between well-established, legacy firms and new, innovative entities to usher-in a ‘cleaner and greener’ era for India, through sustainability.

As the two organizations step together into this glorious dawn, their efforts for ‘digitized and sustainable’ construction methods may well nudge the entire industry to pursue and adapt such eco-friendly practices, so that these continue to be of relevance hereon.

India’s First 3D Printed House was constructed by Tvasta in the IIT Madras Campus, demonstrating its capabilities and feasibility in the actualization of a physical structure. This pilot structure along with the indigenously developed technology also marks the start-up’s endeavors in highlighting a potential alternative solution that may very well address India’s housing and infrastructure challenges.

Additionally, as a part of the COVID-19 Response Initiative, the company was also instrumental in the erection of ‘India’s First 3D Printed Doffing Units’ (in collaboration with Saint Gobain), for multiple hospitals, in and around Chennai.