April 19, 2018
Back in 2015 we wrote about plans to build an additively manufactured bridge across a canal in Amsterdam – what would be the first structure in the world that was printed using an innovative robotic printer.
That bridge is now nearing completion. Earlier this month, MX3D, the company building the bridge, announced that the full span of the bridge had been finalized after nearly a year of fabrication.
MX3D essentially printed the structure in mid-air using a technique that involved extruding metal droplets that were fused to form solid lines. The 40-meters-long bridge was printed using four robots and nearly 10,000 lbs. of stainless steel.
The bridge was designed by Joris Laarman Lab. The project also received assistance from Autodesk, ArcelorMital, Hiejmans, Lenovo, ABB, Air Liquide, Oerlikon, and other companies.
Originally, the company planned to print the bridge in place over the canal using the robotic system, but production was commenced at an MX3D facility outside of Amsterdam because of concerns about pedestrian interference and environmental issues.
The bridge will also be equipped with sensors so that it can monitor its own integrity and maintenance needs over time, as well as recording the number of people who walk over the bridge and how fast they were going. That data will be used to create a digital twin of the bridge that can be further optimized for future projects.
Now that the expanse is printed, the company will add a steel deck and special coatings to protect the metal from the weather and other contaminants.
“Last Thursday we tested out the bridge with 30 people, and it was fine. It behaves like a bridge, like it should,” said MX3D co-founder Gijs van der Velden. “With the bridge deck on top, it will be even stronger.”
Once completed, the bridge will be installed over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam’s red light district. You can read more of our coverage of MX3D here.