Steel Bridge Prints Itself
The world’s first steel bridge 3D printed by robots is to be installed in the centre of Amsterdam. The project is an initiative of the Dutch start-up MX3D. Heijmans is contributing by providing the structural and technical knowledge to print the bridge. The unique design of the bridge was devised by Joris Laarman. The bridge will be installed across the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam in 2017 and will rest on the canal’s embankments, the ‘Wallen’.
Printing Outside the Box
What distinguishes this technology from traditional 3D printing methods is the application of the ‘printing outside the box’ principle. Because the printing is done by 6-axis robot arms, you are no longer restricted to a square box in which everything takes place.
The bridge was designed by Joris Laarman. Joris Laarman’s works can be seen across the world in museums such as the MoMA, V&A, Centre Pompidou and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. 3D printing the bridge enables shape and construction to work hand in hand.
Tried and Tested Innovation
The bridge demonstrates how digital manufacturing is finally being introduced in the world of large, sustainable and functional objects. A test lab has been created on the NDSM quay where the bridge will be 3D printed. The process will see the implementation of continuous innovations.
MX3D is an Amsterdam R&D start-up that has devised an innovative method to 3D print metal. Autodesk (software), ABB (robots), Lenovo (hardware) and Heijmans are all working together on this project.
The project can be seen ‘live’ on the NDSM site in Amsterdam North from October 2015. The progress of the project can be followed at this location every Friday from 12:00 to 16:00.