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The wonders of technology continue to amaze! A 3D-printed temple, touted as the world's first, has come up in Burugupally in Siddipet district, Telangana. Built by Hyderabad-based Apsuja Infratech in collaboration with additive manufacturing solutions provider Simpliforge Creations, the unique struc...

The wonders of technology continue to amaze! A 3D-printed temple, touted as the world's first, has come up in Burugupally in Siddipet district, Telangana. Built by Hyderabad-based Apsuja Infratech in collaboration with additive manufacturing solutions provider Simpliforge Creations, the unique structure took about three months to 3D print. The three-part structure, which spans 4,000 sq ft and is 35.5 feet tall, has three sanctums: A modak dedicated to Lord Ganesha, a square Shivalay devoted to Lord Shankar and a lotus-shaped one for Goddess Parvati. The three gopurams (spires) and three sanctums were 3-D printed onsite by Simpliforge at its robotics construction 3D-printing facility with the help of an in-house developed system and indigenously developed material and software. The remaining structures like the pillars, slabs and flooring were built using conventional construction techniques. “Bringing divine visions to life through the synergy of innovation and tradition, the 3D-built Hindu temple at Charvitha Meadows in Siddipet stands as a testament to our dedication in merging technology with spirituality, forging a sacred space that transcends time and elevates the soul,” says Hari Krishna Jeedipalli, Managing Director, Apsuja Infratech. “The garbhagudis have been meticulously designed to enhance the resonance of Vedic chants, mesmerising devotees with their reverberations. Drawing inspiration from the Puri Jagannath temple style, the gopuram designs showcase our commitment to architectural finesse and cultural heritage.” On hand to translate this vision into reality was sister concern Simpliforge, which has embarked on the path of 3-D printing after the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing the need for quick and automated construction. Dhruv Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Simpliforge Creations, tells us more about the project and the potential of the technology. Please describe the inspiration behind building a temple through 3-D printing. Generally, temples involve a significant amount of intricate designs that are architecturally challenging and time consuming when executed in traditional means. To execute a temple project through 3-D concrete printing would test all the parameters: Printing in extreme inward and outward cantilevers, varied wall thicknesses along the height and girth and most important, printing in-situ in the open environment (even during seasonal changes). When the client Apsuja Infratech, a sister concern, approached us to construct an abode for God (temple) using 3-D concrete printing, it presented an immense opportunity to test and prove all facets of 3-D concrete printing. Is the final structure as per the initial client brief? Yes. Meticulous design and operations planning has gone into the project to 3-D print the temple as per the initial 3-D renders developed and idea conceived. Briefly describe the green measures used in the temple. 3-D concrete printing itself is a sustainable solution and utilises minimum material. We have designed the wall thicknesses of the temple to the absolute required sizes (not oversized) and optimised the use of reinforcement. We have avoided the formwork needed for the complex shapes that were printed, especially the modak and lotus. The need for elaborate scaffolding while constructing the gopurams or spires was avoided with 3-D concrete printing. What eco-friendly benefits does a 3D-printed structure have over a conventional one? There is no need for formwork while constructing odd and organic shapes. The quantum of material used is less compared to a traditional structure. The solid walls are designed as hollow structures with material placed in areas where required. The hollow walls also provide thermal insulation and can even be filled with insulating materials to enhance comfort inside the structure. Wastage of material is less in 3-D printing as is the amount of water needed for curing. In collaboration with IIT-Hyderabad, Simpliforge constructed India’s first 3D-printed bridge wherein it has demonstrated the minimalistic use of material, only along the stress paths. What were the challenges in this project and how were they overcome? Material consistency while printing in open environment (in-situ) during day-night and seasonal changes can be a challenge. However, the proprietary design mixes were such that this problem never arose and even shrinkages were not seen in any of these structures. We could also overcome the key challenge of slab casting in 3-D concrete printing with the dome and spire-shaped structures. How does the company minimise waste and promote the recycling of material? The little wastage that is generated from 3-D printing is being used to make outdoor artefacts and planters. Simpliforge’s printing system is designed to accept recycled material as input. It can take up to a maximum particle size of 10 mm. Are there any incentives or support received from the government? The current projects are privately and self-funded. Currently, 3-D printing technology is evolving and would need considerable investment in R&D of technology. The government’s support to cover R&D expenditure would help the industry mature quickly and keep India ahead of its peers in this revolutionary technology. Currently, the codes and standards for 3-D concrete printing are being developed internationally. Domestically, the BIS codes are being formulated for 3-D concrete printing. The government can promote 3-D printing technology and bring in widespread acceptance of the same. Is concrete modelling the future of construction? Eventually, when labour costs shoot up and skilled manpower shortage is encountered, the construction industry would be pushed towards automation. And the solution is 3-D concrete printing. Even in the current day, while constructing regular structures in remote or frontier and hilly areas or constructing high-end or niche houses in remote areas far away from cities, the availability of skilled manpower and adherence to construction drawings are a challenge. This can be addressed with 3-D concrete printing.

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