February 10, 2021 | 4 min read
Underground storm- and wastewater infrastructures are receiving a significant upgrade while safety in production is increased thanks to Pipelife’s unique and novel application of high-precision production.
What so far has only served to manufacture single art objects or prototypes, is for the first time in history applied in mass production: As global pioneer, Pipelife is using newly invented, automated 3D printing technology and revolutionary software to produce fully customized, enhanced polypropylene (PP) manholes for storm- and wastewater networks.
Precision in civil engineering is taken a step further, seeing formerly difficult angles and heights within manhole flow profiles realized to perfection, and enabling the combination of different in- and outlet pipe diameters at the touch of a button. In addition to the benefits resulting from 400 quadrillion customization possibilities, the third-party test laboratory Deltares confirms exceeding product performance compared to classically fabricated products.
A specially developed software designs manhole flow profiles with optimized hydraulic properties, while precision in 3D printing ensures a 1:1 implementation with smooth and seamless surfaces. Less maintenance on storm- and wastewater systems can therefore be expected along with improved performance.
“The ongoing development of this technology allows us to manufacture the most complex manholes designs within less than 6 hours, which is considerably faster than done by hand”, says Ton Schoenmaker, International Project Manager at Pipelife’s R&D department.
However, time is not only saved in production: Whereas ordinary 3D printing software programs require work intense step-files to create the necessary coordinates the 3D printer can follow, Pipelife went a step further and developed a software program that tailors a fully optimized flow profile within 20 minutes.
“It takes design engineers about one day to draw up a manhole with a special flow profile. Our software calculates and draws the profile with optimal hydraulics within 20 minutes! Instead of laborious designs, the input we need from clients is reduced to filling out a form defining dimensions and the orientation of in- and outlets. This solution literally saves them the day and the result couldn’t be any better!” adds Schoenmaker.
While customer, system and production benefits are evident, one of Pipelife’s main reasons behind the development of the 3D production technology is safety related. “Although past years have seen a steady and significant decrease of accidents in our pipe production, we have still been dealing with some incidents in manual production, especially in cutting. We are confident that the roll-out of this technology will help improve safety at work as much as it will increase production efficiency and precision”, adds Harald Schwarzmayr, CEO of Pipelife.
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