The fast-growing Dutch company MX3D—specialized in 3D-printing, has recently unveiled extra details about its world’s first 3D-printed metal bridge which will be crossing an ancient canal in the Netherland’s capital, Amsterdam. The early plans involved printing the bridge in situ, while further studies showed that the ancient canal will not be able to withstand the stress. Therefore, most of the work is now being done at MX3D’s workshop using a top-notch 3D-printing robot.

The bridge’s design shows intricate undulations and a span with a length of 12 meters. The project is catching up with the schedule since about 1/3 of the bridge has already been printed. It is slated for construction in winter 2018 over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam.

Photography: Joris Laarman – Courtesy of MX3D

The bridge, which will be serving pedestrians and bikes, will be under constant evaluation from MX3D along with a research team from the Alan Turing Institute. This is why a grid of sensors is going to be incorporated into the bridge to evaluate data involving the used materials, in addition to load limits. Other factors will also be tested like how the bridge would react to weather conditions, temperature variation, and pedestrians’ movement. The data gathered will be used on a 3D replica of the bridge so that the designing team can furtherly inspect its functionality to be able to fine-tune their designs for future projects.

The 3D printed bridge being installed by the MX3D team next year will be a world first in engineering. This data-centric, multidisciplinary approach to capturing the bridge’s data will also mark a step-change in the way bridges are designed, constructed, and managed, generating valuable insights for the next generation of bridges and other major public structures,” Professor Mark Girolami commented – Chair in Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at the Imperial College London and the head of the program.

It is a powerful embodiment of what data-centric engineering can deliver as a discipline, and I look forward to seeing the bridge in action from summer next year.”

Read more about MX3D’s  technique here.

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