The Netherlands has witnessed the world’s first 3D-printed bridge—made of concrete—designated for cyclists. However, the bridge’s construction company, BAM Infra claims that it can take up to 40 trucks.
The bridge was created from pre-fab blocks of concrete that were 3D-printed by the means of robots. The bridge has a length of 8 meters, and it is just a portion of a ring road—still under construction—that will surround Gemert, in Brabant province.
BAM Infra collaborated with the Eindhoven University of Technology to produce the bridge. The robots took three months to make the 800 layers of pre-stressed reinforced concrete in the lab of the Dutch university. The new design utilizes a lesser amount of concrete than the custom poured-concrete design, thus rendering its construction a sustainable one.
“We are connecting for the future,” commented the director of BAM Infra, Marinus Schimmel. “Innovation plays a crucial role in this. 3D printing does away with the need for auxiliary materials, such as formwork.”
“This greatly reduces the amount of waste and decreases our use of scarce raw materials. And this working method also has a positive effect on CO2 emissions during the production process of the bridge.”
However, Professor Theo Salet, at the Structural Design Department of the Eindhoven University of Technology, claims that the robots will not be replacing any of the labor hands.
“People need to build and maintain the robots, so the work will change,” explained the professor.
The Dutch designer, Joris Laarman, who created the bridge is now occupied with designing of a pedestrian bridge across the canal of Amsterdam. His new design will also be printed by robots.
3D Printing applications and techniques are widely spreading and evolving by the day. 3D printers use different materials to obtain various scales of products, ranging from intricate jewelry to actual buildings and pavilions.