Blockmaking machine aids in community development

06 April 2018

Alternative buildingtechnology partner Hydraform supplied its M7MI interlocking blockmaking machine to social activist nonprofit organisation Earthrise Trust.

The alternative buildingsystem will be used by the local community of Naledi Village, just outside Ficksburg, in the Free State. The machine will create job opportunities in block manufacturing as well as with the construction of quality homes within the community. The machine has, since being supplied in January last year until January this year, produced 30 000 blocks on demand. The interlocking buildingsystem uses a mixture of soil and cement, which is hydraulically compacted inside a chamber to form interlocking blocks.

The M7MI  is a mobile blockmaking plant that includes a diesel engine and pan mixer, mounted on a robust trailer for transport. It can produce 2 200 blocks in an eight-hour shift, equating to about 57 m²/d of walling and twelve 50 m² houses a month. The mobility of the machine makes it ideal for constructionprojects in remote areas, allowing for the production of blocks in either the village or neighbouring farms.

Naledi Village chairperson Anton Chaka says the machine was initially used to produce blocks that were used in all the new constructionprojects for the village, such as a storage facility with an office, an ablution facility, the Naledi Arts Centre and toilets for the local primary school.

Further, he notes that the machine will be used to set up a more permanent block yard, which will be used to sell blocks in the community so that people can build proper houses, while creating jobs for the community at the block yard.

“Once we get the title deeds to our land from government, then the next big project of each household is to save money and build permanent homes,” says Chaka. “Earthrise Trust will also build additional rooms at its lodge on the Rustlers Valley farm. We are looking into supplying blocks to neighbouring farms and surrounding constructionprojects once local housing development is complete, and perhaps a school later on,” adds Chaka.

Hydraform marketing coordinator Ryno Saayman notes that training is a key component and service for Hydraform and thus provided two one-week training sessions in Naledi Village, which covered information on the machine’s operation, maintenance, soil selection and curing, as well as manufacturing blocks and stockpiling.

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