Essex & Suffolk Water Filter Bed Gantries

SCX Special Projects created three 45m wide travelling and rotating gantry frames capable of deploying 2.5 square kilometres of cover over the water surface of 18 filter beds at Essex & Suffolk Water’s Layer Water Treatment Works in Colchester.

The Challenge

Essex & Suffolk Water’s Layer Water Treatment Works in Colchester needed a solution to control the growth of algae on their filter beds. The algae grows particularly quickly in direct sunlight and removing it was proving to be an expensive and labour intensive task.

Placing breathable fabric over the filter beds would block sunlight and help to limit the blooms of algae, however the scale of the beds posed a novel mechanical handling challenge.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects engineered three 45m wide rotating gantry frames capable of deploying and retracting more than 2.5 square kilometres of fabric over the surface of 18 filter beds. The frames travel on bogies along 400 metres of track embedded in the banks of the beds.

The solution significantly reduces the need for manual cleaning, saving time and cost in the company’s ongoing water treatment processes.

One of the filter bed gantries at Essex & Suffolk Water’s Layer Water Treatment Works in Colchester

Solving challenges at scale

  • 18 water filtration beds are covered by the three bespoke gantries – all engineered, built and installed by SCX Special Projects
  • Each gantry straddles the full width of the filter beds and provides cover to six consecutive pools
  • With a long travel speed of up to 10m/minute, each gantry can traverse more than 400m along its rails


Bespoke handling expertise

  • The travelling gantries have a span of 45m, with a 2.2m diameter rotating drum to carry the filter covers, and a triangulated steel construction
  • The drum is powered by variable speed inverter drives for safe, smooth and controlled motion
  • As the gantry is traversed over the water’s surface, the drum rotates and deploys the specially-manufactured breathable cloth over each filter bed


EC&I delivers automated control and ease of use

  • The rotating gantries are mounted on powered bogies that rest on the rails either side of the filter beds
  • Sensors detect the alignment of the gantry, while a slewing ring and pivot system automatically corrects any skew
  • The gantries are pendant-controlled, requiring just two operatives to cover a filter bed in as little as 20 minutes


Let's talk more about bespoke handling solutions

SCX has engineered, built and installed hundreds of bespoke, automated large-scale mechanical handling solutions. If your needs are unique and commercial kit can't meet them, talk to us today.

Call us on +44 114 262 6199, email us at, or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.

Note: We will never share your data with anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Fail text
Success text
Industry Awards


Industry Certifications



An SCX company

SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199