The IIT-M alumni start-up uses 3D printing to create withdrawal units for documents. Here’s why it’s actually s- Edexlive
A start-up founded by IIT Madras alumni has created a Doffing unit – which will help doctors treating COVID-19 patients have contactless PPE kits – using concrete 3D printing technology. The project was carried out by Tvasta, in collaboration with the multinational French-based manufacturing company, Saint Gobain, and two of the three proposed withdrawal units have already been installed at the government hospital in Kancheepuram and at the Medical College and Hospital of Omandurar, Chennai. The third unit is expected to be established at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Tiruvallur.
Tvasta is a “deep-tech” start-up specializing in concrete 3D printing. It was established in 2016 when Adithya VS, Managing Director, Vidyashankar C. COO, and Parivarthan Reddy, CTO, were just graduating from college. They made the news this year when they created India’s first 3D printed house at IIT Madras. This is where Saint Gobain learned about them and involved them in this CSR approach.
So what is a Doffing unit, and what exactly makes this one created by the youngsters at Tvasta so ergonomic? Speaking to Edexlive, Parivarthan says these withdrawal units are the need of the hour, given the devastating nature of the pandemic. Essentially, Doffing units are rooms inside hospitals where healthcare providers can dispose of their personal protection kits after a day of treating COVID patients. “However, the units that we have traditionally pose a risk of transmission. PPE kits are thrown in a trash can in the room, posing a risk of transmission, ”says Reddy. The unit, designed and 3D printed, by these kids has two separate outlets and comes with a chute where doctors can throw their PPE kits. The chute delivers to a covered bin outside, where it is then removed. Once they throw away the kit, they can use the touchless soap and sanitizer dispensers to clean their hands. Then they enter an interior room which contains a shower.
“The units are also equipped with a UV disinfection box where doctors can place their change of clothes, phones and wallets for disinfected and safe use. They then exit through the specified exit, so there is negligible contact with any germs. Each step is put in place to minimize the risk of transmission, ”explains the 28-year-old.
Building the unit is a process that takes approximately 17 days. The unit is printed in separate parts, the 3D models of which are uploaded to the computer and then generated in concrete using Tvasta’s in-house 3D printer. Both the machine and the software were developed by these engineers. This process takes four days. The pieces are then left to “cure” for seven days so that the concrete sets. They are then transported to the site, in this case hospitals, and assembled in two to three days. “Time and costs, both are greatly reduced in this process, but most importantly, construction workers are spared from long exposure to COVID-19 in hospitals,” Parivarthan explains.
The engineer understands that the challenge remains to evolve this relatively new technology in the construction industry, but he says interest has boiled encouragingly in recent months. “We’ve had requests from builders on this building technology, and now the focus is on working with potential partners, teaching people about the technology and making it accessible. Housing will always be a primary need for everyone, so this technology can certainly gain momentum in the years to come, ”says Parivarthan.