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How Will 3D Printing Support Sustainable Transport?

2 min

3D Printing
Image Credit: BAM
BAM has installed a 3D-printed concrete structure to provide access to a new pedestrian bridge across the M8 in Glasgow. Quadrant Transport looks at how this will support sustainable transport.

It is believed that this will be the largest printed concrete construction in the UK to date and sees BAM become the first contractor in Scotland to make use of 3D concrete printing.

When complete, the new pedestrian and cycle bridge, Sighthill Bridge, will connect Glasgow City Centre to the Sighthill area in a new sustainable transport corridor. Before being shipped to Scotland, the steps were printed by Weber Bemix in their factory in the Netherlands.

3D Printing Is Helping To Modernise Construction

Once the staircase is fully installed, the new steps will be clad in granite, creating what is described by BAM as attractive, long-lasting and a slip-free finish.

Printing the bridge components allows for precise and intricate shapes, which can be difficult to do with a traditional framework, creating a unique structure.

Ian Steele, BAM Contracts Manager, M8 Footbridge, said: “It’s wonderful to see these 3D Concrete printed aspects installed as this iconic bridge takes shape.

“The printed element saw us manufacture the stairwells offsite, creating strong, one-of-a-kind structures, all while reducing waste and interaction with weather and other elements which can create hold ups.

“Although this part of the landscaping will ultimately be hidden from site, it marks a huge step forward for BAM in how we modernise our approach to construction – reducing risk, improving efficiency, and driving down our carbon footprint.”

The use of this technology is in its infancy, but the aspiration is that interest and application grow to such a degree that we can invest in a UK-based printing facility which would improve how we construct within the UK.

The Decarbonisation Of The Transport Sector Is Being Supported By 3D Printing

3D printing can and must play a role in decarbonising transportation and can transform much of how the transport industry operates.

Keeping costs down and improving carbon efficiency, the removal of moulds and materials reduces waste by 40 per cent compared to traditional methods. 3D printing not only has sustainability benefits, but can also reduce the supply chain by freeing up time, resources, and expenses for more affordable infrastructure.

In addition, the staircase is revealed by BAM to be just as strong as if poured on site, however with this method the structure is allowed to be manufactured in a highly controlled environment.

Therefore, concerns surrounding the weather will be removed and the risks associated with on-site construction will be reduced.