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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_UKPN0064
Title 3D Printing of Network Assets
Status Completed
Energy Categories Other Power and Storage Technologies(Electricity transmission and distribution) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
UK Power Networks
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 September 2020
End Date 31 March 2022
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £307,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region London
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , UK Power Networks (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , UK Power Networks (0.000%)
Web Site https://smarter.energynetworks.org/projects/NIA_UKPN0064
Objectives The project will apply the following method in order to determine a suitable 3D printed design for an electricity pole, that will help meet the demand for UK Power Networks electricity pole replacement programme. 1. To carry out a workshop with the stakeholders to understand all the requirements of an electricity pole.2. To review and understand the work that has currently been undertaken by other distribution network operators (DNOs) and research centres in this field. Establishing the potential of using additive manufacturing for producing overhead lines (OHL) supports and exploring the material options.3. To create a Pugh matrix for the top five viable solutions and downselect the best solution. 4. To create a CAD design based on the downselected process.5. To carry out initial build trials of small samples (the samples to be generated will be in the order of tens of centimetres) to assess the buildability of the chosen material and generate test samples.6. To define a test plan and execution to assess whether the printed material meets the requirements (This will including basic mechanical testing on the material, including subjecting small samples to tensile, bend and compression tests). The project consists of six stages, which will output the following deliverablesStage 1 - Requirements capture.Stage 2 - Literature/Market review on current solutions.Stage 3 - Review of potential materials and processes and downselection.Stage 4 - Concept Design.Stage 5 - Build trials.Stage 6 - Test outputs. February 2022 update:It was originally planned that the project would explore an additional deliverable for stage 6 within the project budget. It was initially proposed to conduct 1,500 hours of weathering and accelerated ageing tests which correlates to 2 years of ageing. However, further research on 3D printed polymers did not definitively state if the materials degradation behaviour ceased after two years, or if there was further degradation. An accelerated test which correlates with 80 years would take 6.8 years in real time, which is an impractical amount of time for an innovation project. For this reason, the project will not be undertaking ageing tests at this stage. Now that this research has been completed, additional time (but not budget) is required for the project to complete with no change in the original scope. The key objectives will be to identify a suitable set of materials and manufacturing processes which can meet the standards and specifications for an electricity pole. This will then be assessed against the forecast future whole life cost to understand whether there is a business case for further investment into another phase of the project. It should be noted that the stages are linear, and can be halted should it be determined that the business case is no longer viable.
Abstract UK Power Networks are putting together an electricity pole replacement programme to replace an increased number of electricity poles going forwards into RIIO-ED2.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 02/11/22