A 3D printed steel bridge over Amsterdam canal – a premiere in the history

(Image credit: Thijs Wolzak)

If you have already visited Amsterdam, you have certainly noticed the bridges and the canals of the Dutch capital. Furthermore, in order to keep the interest it arouses, the city keeps reinventing itself by giving new shapes to its historic architecture.

A 3D printing project of a Dutch start-up, MX3D, perfectly illustrates this fact. The team will 3D print an intricate steel bridge over water in the center of Amsterdam.

(Image credit: Thijs Wolzak)

In their equipment, one can find industrial multi-axis robots with 3D tools. MX3D develops their own software to manage this project. The Dutch team wants to 3D print strong and complex structures out of sustainable material – from large bridges to small parts.

Speaking about the particularity of their technology, Tim Geurtjens, CTO MX3D said: “What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the ‘Printing Outside the box’ principle. By printing with 6-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to demonstrate the endless possibilities of this technique.”

Un plan de la surface rugueuse du pont (Photo: Adriaan de Groot)

As far as the steel bridge is concerned, it should be noted that 3D printing is not only the remarkable aspect of the project. The steel structure will integrate a set of sensors that will send information to the designers and engineers. It seems crazy (or not anymore since we are speaking about new technologies) but the bridge will not need further assistance to monitor its “health”. It will record the number of people that will walk across it as well as their speeds and last, take measurements of weight dispersion or air quality.

The inauguration of the bridge is expected for June 2018. Another site we should visit in Amsterdam!

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