Feb 17
Teaching Through Tech
Teaching Through Tech
HIGH-QUALITY education is the gateway to opportunity. It has the potential to fire up young minds and the power to make dreams come true. Learning processes are being drastically reshaped by technology and this, in turn, is producing far more effective outcomes, turning out well-rounded independent-thinking students with wider horizons.
 
Eager to give students the tech advantage, the Tamil Nadu government, in collaboration with L&T, has pioneered the establishment of high-tech, connected computer labs in over 6,000 schools across 32 districts in the state.
 
Ambitious Goals
 
The project was a part of the centrally sponsored Information and Communication Technology scheme (ICT). The Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation was tasked with the execution of this project and L&T’s Smart World & Communication vertical was chosen as technology partner. L&T’s ability to deliver the technological infrastructure necessary for this initiative to succeed was the key to reshaping the education landscape in the 32 districts in which the project was rolled out.
 
The key infrastructure was created by L&T: in some cases, it was created right from the scratch. Computers were set up, connectivity was established in the form dedicated leased line Internet, and a smart connected system of thin clients, printers, projectors and online UPS. To ensure that content could be accessed offline, dedicated education content management servers were put in place. L&T ensured that all systems ran smoothly and delivered the intended learning outcomes. 
 
To achieve this, L&T set up a centralised control centre to monitor, provision and manage IT components at all the schools remotely. Real-time status and diagnostic reports give insights into whether everything is running smoothly, and flag problems that could be fixed remotely. Through the control centre, L&T set up helpdesk functionality accessible through IP-based contact centre solutions, e-mail and web-based applications.
 
Despite the challenges of setting up all this connected infrastructure, even in remote areas, the project has been completed in just about a year.
 
Impacting the Future
 
The implementation of this project has made a tangible difference, improving the quality of education. The project has made the process of learning smarter, more targeted, effective, interactive and easy to access. It has successfully inculcated self-learning abilities among the students, and helped teachers devise creative methods of teaching.
 
Crucially, it has made students eager to learn, providing a holistic view of subjects beyond simply what is in their textbooks, while also giving them the ability to critically examine and analyse what they are being taught. It has made rote learning redundant, raising the levels of government-school students and putting them on par with their private school peers.
 
The digital revolution has proven its merit during the lockdowns. The academic year may have been disrupted, but learning continues, as the curriculum has been backed up onto content management servers from where the students can access it.
 
Leveraging this, Tamil Nadu government has also developed educational contents that can be disseminated to students at all government schools (even those not part of the project).  This has widened the impact of the project – far beyond the scope of the initiative.
 
In providing the necessary expertise and infrastructure, L&T has played a key role in helping the government realise its vision. More importantly, the project is scalable to 10,000 schools. 
Feb 12
Kick-off In Qatar
Kick-off In Qatar
THE HEAT is on. As the excitement builds up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, preparations are underway at Qatar for this eagerly-anticipated international tournament. In the run-up to the kick-off, one of the five FIFA-compliant stadiums, built by Larsen & Toubro, has been inaugurated on Qatar National Day, 18 December. The 40,000-capacity stadium opened with the Amir Cup 2020 final – exactly two years before the country hosts the FIFA World Cup final.
 
During the World Cup, the stadium will host seven matches up to the round-of-16 stage. After the World Cup, 20,000 of the upper tier seats will be dismantled and donated for football development projects abroad. To beat the desert heat, the pitch and bowl are air-conditioned.  Air-Handling Units (AHUs) under the bowl seating area blow in cool air from under the seat diffusers, maintaining the temperature at 26oC (+2oC). The pitch is cooled by AHUs located around the pitch locations in the basement.
 
A study in magnificence, the stadium’s elegant, ornate façade features Qatari patterns.  These depict the country’s different aspects – the importance of family, the beauty of the desert, the native flora and fauna and local and international trade, strength and unity. Created using a cutting-edge parametric design, the distinctive façade plays an important role in cooling the building. The roof has a special floating steel structure.
 
No wonder, India’s External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar was very impressed by the achievements of L&T in bringing this dream of the state-of-the-art stadium to reality. Delighted to be playing a role in the World Cup, L&T looks forward to many more kick-offs and touchdowns.
Feb 12
Oiling the Atmanirbhar Wheel
Oiling the Atmanirbhar Wheel
L&T HAS been playing a key role in the hydrocarbon sector by executing projects as well as designing and fabricating sophisticated equipment.
 
In February 2019, L&T’s Heavy Engineering (HE) vertical received a contract for the design and manufacture of an ethylene oxide (EO) reactor from its sister concern L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE). The EO reactor is meant for Indian Oil Corporation Ltd’s (IOCL) Ethylene Glycol project at the Paradip Refinery in Odisha and IOCL had awarded LTHE the EPC contract for this. The equipment is gigantic – 25.72m L x 12.30m W x 10.79m H – and weighs 1157 MT. Highly complex, it contains over 22,000 tubes.
 
The EO reactor was despatched to Paradip on 4 January from L&T’s fully integrated Hazira Manufacturing Complex, the largest workshop at a single location geared for mega sized equipment and packages. It was flagged off by Union minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas & Steel, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan and IOCL chairman Mr S M Vaidya in the presence of L&T CEO & MD Mr S N Subrahmanyan, Whole-Time Director and Sr EVP - Energy Mr Subramanian Sarma, EVP & Head – Heavy Engineering Mr Anil Parab, and Advisor to CEO & MD Mr Y S Trivedi.
 
This is yet another example of L&T’s contribution to the Prime Minister’s push for Atmanirbhar Bharat, boosting India’s self-reliance and facilitating a robust development.
 
IOCL’s Ethylene Glycol Project at Paradip, which includes a 180 KTA Ethylene Recovery Unit and a 357 KTA Ethylene Glycol unit, is expected to produce 332 KTA MEG, one of the raw materials used to produce Polyethylene Terephthalate, Polyester Staple Fibre, Polyester Filament Yarn and allied products. The project is likely to be commissioned later this year.
Feb 12
Mission Missile
Mission Missile
À coeur vaillant rien d'impossible (for a valiant heart, nothing is impossible)! And a joint venture led by L&T is proving that right here from the Indian soil. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd (LTMMSL), a JV between L&T and MBDA France, has commenced the delivery of the MICA missile air-to-air launchers that can be fitted onto Rafale fighter aircraft – the latest sophisticated jets that the Indian Air Force has inducted in its fleet.
 
This assumes significance because LTMMSL’s greenfield facility in Coimbatore had barely started operations in March 2020, when the pandemic – and the lockdown – struck! The journey to the milestone began in 2019, when the foundation stone was laid at an SEZ near Coimbatore. Construction proceeded at full throttle, following the best practices of both parents. The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art security systems and has climate-controlled dust-free cleanrooms.
 
Despite the pandemic, LTMMSL team installed and commissioned the critical equipment, following the highest standards of COVID-19 prevention. Installation, commissioning and training were completed using new-age digital means, with trainers from France sharing their expertise without travelling to India.
 
On-time delivery and first-time-right-every-time-right are LTMMSL’s driving force. This vision ensures delivery in the shortest possible time, with utmost focus on safety, health, security and quality. The missile launchers were flagged off on 8 December with Dr M K Shanmuga Sundaram, IAS (Development Commissioner, MEPZ Special Economic Zone), present as the chief guest.
 
The event was graced by  Mr J D Patil (Chairman -LTMMSL and L&T’s Whole-time Director - Defence & Smart Technologies), Mr Mukesh Bhargava (Board Member, LTMMSL) and Mr Arun Ramchandani (EVP – Guns, Missiles & Armoured Systems, L&T) and Mr Boris Solomiac (General Delegate, MBDA India).  Several other LTMMSL Board Members and senior executives from L&T and MBDA joined virtually from various parts of the world – Le-Plessis and Bourges in France, Stevenage in the UK and Powai and Kattupalli in India.
 
Mr Ravi Kataria (Chief Executive - LTMMSL) described the challenges faced during the setting up of the facility. He underscored that the facility was the result of a focussed strategy which involves developing capabilities within the JV, enhancing the technology spectrum, and building capacities ahead of time so that when the opportunity arises, LTMMSL is well-positioned to deliver missiles and missile systems. 
 
A presentation on the facility was made by Mr Philippe Dallamaggiore (Chief Operations Officer) and Mr Amol M Gadre (Head - Operations). Mr Yannick Roussel (Group Head of Industrial Offsets & Export Infra Procurement, MBDA) addressed the gathering virtually from France.
 
Mr Patil stated that the facility is the first step towards proactively offering advanced missiles and missile systems to the Indian Armed Forces through domestic production. Congratulating LTMMSL, Dr Sundaram reassured MEPZ’s full support for its overall growth and self-reliance in defence production. Mr LoÏc Piedevache (Vice Chairman, LTMMSL) also addressed the gathering.
 
The LTMMSL facility will also integrate MICA missile sections. Aligned with the ‘Make in India’ and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives, the JV is a commitment to India’s long-standing goals for achieving self-sufficiency in defence machinery.
Feb 12
Building In 3D
Building In 3D
FOR THE FIRST TIME ever in India, a G+1 building, with both vertical and horizontal rebar has been 3D printed on site. L&T’s Building & Factories (B&F) arm has achieved this feat using in-house-produced concrete, concrete mix, and aggregates of higher grain size – unlike the conventional method of using prepacked mortar (with grain size not exceeding 2 mm) mixed with water.
 
In most cases, building elements are 3D printed off-site and assembled at the site. This structure, however, was printed entirely in-situ using the BOD1 Printer imported from COBOD, Denmark, with reinforcements meeting design requirements and complying with Indian Codal Provisions. 3D printing is ideal for mass housing construction.
 
In November 2019, the L&T team had printed a 1-BHK flat at B&F’s Kancheepuram campus, making it the first such structure to be 3D printed in India. Mr M V Satish (Whole-time Director & Sr EVP – Buildings) spearheaded the initiative, while a team led by Mr L S Kannan (Head – Concrete Management) and Mr S Lakshmi Narayanan (Head – Robotics) was in charge of execution.
Feb 12
Decking Up the Dock
Decking Up the Dock
THE PORTS & Harbours arm of L&T’s Heavy Civil Infrastructure, which is executing India’s biggest dry dock project for the Cochin Shipyard Limited, has achieved a major milestone with the installation of India’s longest sheet piles by marine mode. This is to facilitate the construction of a cofferdam for the project.
Sheet piles ensure safe construction of the dry dock floor and pump house 17m below the surface level. It isolates the work area from the surrounding water-body and facilitates creation of a dry work area by dewatering for dock construction activities.
 
The Ports & Harbours arm constructed 330m-long cofferdam using sheet piles and earthen berm. Considering the weak soil strata on the seabed, 42m-long sheet piles were installed to ensure sufficient embedment in good soil. The installation of these sheet piles was completed by end-November 2020 and dewatering commenced on 18 December.
 
To install such long sheet piles in soft clayey and marine conditions, it was essential to maintain horizontal and vertical alignments with full length interlocking.  Therefore, a robust sheet pile installation system was required. L&T’s Engineering Design & Research Centre developed in-house a special modular guide frame template system for this. The in-built adjustment system of the modular template, both longitudinal and lateral, allowed the installation tolerances of template supporting liners in marine mode and, in turn, provided support to the template.
 
Lightweight, easy to assemble, handle and position, this modular template sped up the pace of installation of the Hat-H sheet piles.  In the subsequent phase, the earthen berm will be constructed and the ground improved, which will be executed from land.

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