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Efficient and Effective

3d Printing of Network Assets

This project is exploring a new type of utility pole for our overhead lines. The poles will be 3D printed, lightweight, easier to install and not coated with chemical preservatives.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/09/2020
End date: 01/12/2021
Budget: £307,000

We’re trialling a way of creating our own, 3D printed electricity poles to replace our wooden electricity poles going forwards. We’re doing this because it takes time to source wooden poles, and they have to be coated with chemical preservatives to make them last. This isn’t particularly efficient, so we’re confident the new 3D printed poles will be easier to manufacture, easier to move around and easier to install.

We’re enlisting the help of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to develop the new poles. The MTC will carry out workshops to understand the requirements of these poles and will then research and develop viable solutions, before building and testing scale models. Both the construction method as well as the physical characteristics of the samples will be assessed, informing us of the best design that can be taken forwards into larger scale production.

We’ll use the most modern 3D printing methods in this project, and we expect that the new poles could be lighter, easier to transport, and to last longer than our existing wooden poles.

We’ll better understand how existing methods of 3D printed materials may be applied in our trials. Besides understanding the mechanical and physical limits of these methods, we’ll also gain an understanding of the costs associated around different types of 3D printing.

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