K. Jalandhar Reddy, Executive Director, KNR Construction

K. Jalandhar Reddy, Executive Director, KNR Construction
Artificial intelligence, robots, and machine learning improve worker productivity in construction sites, cut down project costs and improve profitability.

The Rs. 103 lakh crore projects under NIP, Rs. 1.70 lakh crores for transport infrastructure, and the Rs. 20 lakh crore relief package under Atmanirbhar Bharat brings opportunities for the infra sector.

Construction activity is expected to decline for the first time due to the spread of the pandemic and bring down investments in the Infra sector in fiscal 2021. Even with the permission to commence construction activity since April 2020, shortage of labour and unavailability of supply chain logistics are the major roadblocks for developers to resume work fully.

Given the challenges, investments in the Infra sector are expected to contract 7-9% in fiscal 2021 in the base case, after witnessing healthy growth of around 17% in fiscal 2020. National highways and state roads make up more than 90% of these investments. Funding constraints amid the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic delay awarding new projects.

The government is continuing its thrust to boost infrastructure development. It has launched the National Infrastructure Pipeline of Rs. 103 lakh crore projects, besides providing about Rs. 1.70 lakh crores to NHAI for transport infrastructure and for accelerating highway construction. It comprises over 6,500 projects across sectors and are classified as per the size and stage of development. NHAI has started the much-awaited Bharatmala Highway bidding process. The Rs. 20 lakh crore relief package under Atmanirbhar Bharat also brings opportunities to the infra sector.

CAD, laser-based survey and excavation equipment, new tunneling equipment, off-site fabrication and assembly techniques are becoming popular.
At KNR, our philosophy is speed in construction to cut down costs of projects and improve profitability. The company has invested Rs. 1200 crores in sophisticated high-tech equipment for earthmoving, hauling, hoisting, conveying, for aggregate and concrete production, pile driving, tunneling, rock drilling, pumping and de-watering, besides tower cranes and laser screeding paving machines.

We are also focusing on computer-aided design (CAD) which is becoming essential in the design and construction processes. CAD is also a positive adjunct in fast-tracking construction (an approach in which engineering and construction proceed concurrently), besides laser-based survey equipment, laser-guided excavation equipment, and new tunneling equipment. Off-site fabrication and assembly for large volume and bulky modules, particularly for flyovers and bridges in cities, are trends that are picking up.

Artificial intelligence (AI), robots and machine learning systems can improve worker productivity in construction sites for jobs like welding, bar bending, retrieving tools, materials, and equipment and for overall better performance.

Due to Covid-19, employees are expected to be kept safe from health hazards by following sanitation rules in the workplace. We have initiated mobility policies to encourage remote working, when necessary and wherever possible. Staggering of shift timings, distance between workers, banning visitors to construction sites, and avoiding non-essential travel are some of the steps that are being followed at our project sites. As regards supply of materials, the current disruption in supply chains could mean identifying alternative suppliers.

The organizers of bauma CONEXPO INDIA could circulate newsletters on new technologies and equipment or give their demos in webinars.
The onslaught on the CE and Infra sectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to continue till a vaccine is produced and supplied to all; but the uncertainty is likely to persist till March 2021. In the meanwhile, the organisers of bauma CONEXPO INDIA could circulate newsletters, CDs, brochures, or e-mails on the new technologies and equipment or provide information by way of demos in webinars.

Bhupinder Singh, CEO, bauma CONEXPO INDIA

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