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CRRI develops road construction and maintenance equipment Patchfill – Pothole Repair Machine and Mobile Cold Mixer cum Paver

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The CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) works on a variety of projects including roads, runways, bridges, structures, traffic and transportation planning, and the use of sustainable materials, among others. It recently developed road construction and maintenance equipment Patchfill – Pothole Repair Machine and Mobile Cold Mixer cum Paver, which were dedicated to the nation in the presence of Sh. Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, and General (Dr.) Vijay Kumar Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways, and Civil Aviation. Officials from MoRTH, NHAI, Ministry of Science & Technology, NRIDA, NRDC, IIT Roorkee, Petrochem Pvt. Ltd, and other bodies and associations attended the event.

Dr. Ranjana Aggarwal, Director, CSIR-CRRI, welcomed the guests and gave a presentation on the institute’s R&D activities. In his opening remarks, Dr. Rajesh S Gokhale, DG, CSIR, praised the work of CRRI. Dr. Jitendra Singh praised the scientists for developing new equipment in India that is aligned with Atma Nirbhar Bharat. He proposed a greater focus on scientific R&D collaborations with intra- and inter-departmental institutes as well as the private sector, as well as increasing R&D capability and capacity to meet the country’s needs over the next 25 years.

General (Dr.) V.K. Singh emphasised the importance of rapid R&D from the lab to field implementation. “The Institute should concentrate on difficult projects for the development of long-lasting, low-cost, and environmentally friendly roads without sacrificing quality,” he said.

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Sh. Nitin Gadkari, emphasising the importance of need-based R&D, stated that filing patents does not mean that R&D is complete; rather, it should be commercialised. “The country requires high-quality construction technologies at a low cost. “The newly developed Patchfill – Pothole Repair Machine should be commercialised for use by the States’ Urban Development authorities and road-owning agencies, with MSME/industry participation,” he said.

In addition, the Minister emphasised the development and implementation of the following solutions:
Cost-effective technologies for road construction that use locally available materials as well as alternative materials to reduce the use of cement and steel.
Plastic waste, tyre rubber, municipal solid waste, Beema Bamboo, agricultural and industrial waste are all examples of new technologies for cost-effective and high-quality construction materials.
Bridge Expansion Joints and Long Span Bridge technologies that are cost-effective, long-term, and efficient.

The Ministers spoke to the crowd after touring the Institute’s various R&D facilities. They also published a special edition of ‘Science Reporter’ titled “India’s Science and Technology Missions: Making India Future Ready – National Technology Day Special 2022.”

Former CSIR DG Dr. Shekhar C Mande was honoured for his outstanding contributions to the organisation. The Ministers and dignitaries were thanked at the end of the event.

The majority of road construction companies in India use manual labour to repair potholes, though a few have invested in high-cost imported machines that require constant maintenance. The CSIR’s compact and low-cost Pothole Repair Machine is based on bitumen emulsion cold mix technology. The machine is self-contained and self-propelled (including cleaning of pothole and compaction of mix after placing it in the pothole). When compared to imported machines, it is 70% less expensive, and the manpower cost is one-third that of the manual process. In just one hour, it can repair 12-15 medium-sized potholes.

High-altitude road design and construction The Himalayan region presents numerous challenges due to the following factors:
In areas such as the Himalayan Region’s North-Eastern States, skilled labour is scarce.
Space for setting up plants for road construction is either unavailable or limited.
Heavy-duty conventional construction and operational equipment is unavailable.

To address these issues, CSIR-CRRI developed the Mobile Cold Mixer cum Paver, which uses bitumen emulsion-based technology to prepare and lay black top layers. The G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment funded the development of this technology (under MoEF&CC).

When compared to the traditional manual construction process, the Mobile Cold Mixer cum Paver increases construction speed by ten times and reduces manpower requirements by twenty times. The machine makes faster progress, produces higher-quality roads, and costs and emissions are reduced. A one-kilometer road will save about 200 tonnes of CO2.

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