India: Adapting Manufacturing Techniques for Modular Roofing Tiles
Over 100 million Indians live in slums. Almost 1 billion people lived in slums worldwide in 2006 – a number expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2020. In India, more than 80% of the families in slums and rural areas cannot afford a concrete slab roof. Affordable options like ubiquitous corrugated metal crack easily, leak water, and get very hot for more than 6 months in a year. Typical cement sheets often contain asbestos, which is toxic to inhabitants. Such living conditions not only cause social stress, but also continue to keep these families in cycle of poverty. Currently, there are no widespread options for roofing between the lowest cost, poor quality options, and concrete slab, which is cost prohibitive for most families.
Re-Materials has designed a modular roofing tile (ModRoofs) based on compressed recycled packaging waste that will significantly improve living conditions for families in low-income housing. ModRoofs fills the market gap between inexpensive, low quality roofing and cost- prohibitive concrete slab roofs.
One of Re-Materials' next big challenges is to develop a higher volume semi-automated manufacturing process streamlining the compression and drying phases, while drastically reducing cost and energy demand. The labor and electricity cost of manufacture is currently 215% of raw materials. Most of this is due to the drying process, which has never been optimized. Our team will take on this challenge and design a drying alternative focusing on (i) reducing the energy input, (ii) reducing the total process cost at scale, (iii) avoiding tile warping, (iv) maintaining high strength performance, and (v) integrating well into the rest of the manufacture process.