Scottish Water on Board With Trail-Blazing 3D Project

04 June 2024
3D Concrete Printing

Technology and Concrete Mix

The new technology allows concrete assets to be 'printed' in a matter of hours compared to several days using traditional methods

Scottish Water is dialling up its carbon-saving credentials by getting on board a trail-blazing project to produce 3D concrete printed infrastructure components.

The publicly owned utility has teamed up with United Utilities to work with tech innovators ChangeMaker3D and Manchester Metropolitan University to develop ‘printfrastructure’.

In a first for the water industry, the £1.7m project backed by the Ofwat Innovation Fund, is ‘printing’ assets in a matter of hours compared to the several days it would take using traditional methods, achieving carbon savings of around 50%.

Scottish Water is committed to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2040 by transforming the way it operates to deliver vital water and waste water services.

Ian Watt, Scottish Water’s Beyond Net Zero Delivery Manager said: “We have already employed a variety of techniques such as off-site construction, recycling core materials and using low carbon concrete to move towards achieving our ambitious targets.

“By thinking ‘clever’ and adapting traditional methods to modern needs and aspirations we can build on our successes and 3D concrete printing is certainly a method that could work very well for us. 

“We would like to thank OFWAT and United Utilities for giving us the opportunity to collaborate and find out more.”


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Our team travelled to Wigan to see the printing process for themselves.

Products are produced using robotics and materials from CyBe robotics and some are being shared with Scottish Water for trialling on a project.

United Utilities’ printing hub is being used to print a range of equipment including Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) chambers which play a vital role in helping to reduce spills from the sewer network during severe weather.

The printing process for a CSO chamber is just over an hour, they are then left for a minimum of three hours to dry – this compares to two days needed using traditional methods.

Some small items can be printed in as a little as 45 minutes and can also deliver safety benefits by reducing the requirement to work at height or in confined spaces.

United Utilities’ Head of Innovation Kieran Brocklebank said the introduction of the printing hub is an exciting development: “We’ve been working closely with ChangeMaker 3D for three years during which time the processes have been honed.

“To finally see a production line of assets being printed is a huge step forward and one we were all excited to see.”

3D Concrete Printing

3D Concrete Printing

Scottish Water is investing around £1billion a year on improving its infrastructure to help meet increased demand and address the impact of climate change.

The publicly owned utility has also published an Urban Water Routemap to transform waste water systems to deliver environmental benefits. 

Scotland’s water quality is at its highest level since classification was introduced in 2009 with 87% of water bodies now achieving at least ‘good’ condition.

Lynsey Lennon, Scottish Water’s Improving Urban Waters Manager said: “We are not resting on our laurels and are committed to raising standards year on year.

“Our comprehensive investment programme has a range of opportunities for innovation, and we are always on the look-out for new technologies or techniques to achieve our strategic aims.

“We are very excited to learn more about 3D concrete printing and how it can play a part.”

As well as 3D concrete printing, the Ofwat-backed project will also see products being printed using polymer materials.

United Utilities is the water company for the North-West of England, headquartered in Warrington.

3D Concrete Printing

3D Concrete Printing