High quality MCR in Bangladesh - the force of fidelity

Nolasco Ruiz   

Three basic points should be fulfilled in the manufacture of Micro-Concrete tiles (MCR) in order to have an efficient, steady and good quality production.

  • In the first place, vibrating machine and moulds should be accurate, clean and well-maintained
  • In the second place, materials should conform to established standards of quality
  • Third and most important, the person himself. Even with proper equipment and materials, if the workers are not competent, the quality of tiles will be inadequate and the tiles will be useless.

My mission in Bangladesh is to build up an industrial roof of about 2500 m2 (equivalent to some 40 single houses) and one of my main concerns was the quality of the tiles, already manufactured and waiting for me.

An experienced colleague, who was here several months ago, told me they were very good and I had the opportunity to see that for myself. Peter Arndt was right, indeed. They are very good. No pores, good edges, and most of all, they "sing" happily when tapped with the knuckles.

I could check the quality of the Bengali cement, made tests of the clay content in the sand, and everything was fine. Then I asked for the necessary instruments for the bending test. Surprisingly, I found out they do not have the instruments for quality control. But, three randomly chosen tiles resisted my 90kg of weight, in spite of being 8mm tiles.

I have always been an advocate of maintaining strict quality controls and, even after this experience, I continue to be. But they say they are able to make those good tiles without them. I tried to find the reason but at the moment could not. Several days passed. New contacts with other workers at the work site, and most of all, further penetration into Bengali culture, were necessary.

Now I understand that Islam is much more than a religion, it is a culture and a way of life. Discipline is a very important part of that culture. Everyone knows his task and once he learns it, will repeat it over and over again with the same movements, the same details... and of course, the same quality.

I walk down the streets and I can see blacksmiths, tailors, or pottery manufacturers, always repeating the same actions with a good and stable quality.

I walk down the streets and I can see blacksmiths, tailors, or pottery manufacturers, always repeating the same actions with a good and stable quality.

These tile-makers from Gazipury were trained by EcoSouth expert, engineer Marcelino Castro, more than three years ago and, from that moment on, they have been working in the same workshop in the same manner without forgetting a single detail or changing anything. They responded to my questions by saying that if given the opportunity they will be tile-makers for life and will pass the art on to their descendants. MCR tiles are becoming part of Bengali craftsmanship and tradition. Perseverance and discipline are becoming important considerations.

Yet, I continue to believe that quality controls should not be forgotten.

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