The world's first 3D-printed steel bridge is now in Amsterdam

The world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge is now in Amsterdam

It is a living science. Everyone who walks, runs or runs across the bridge contributes to collecting important information about the construction

It’s a striking appearance, the 12-meter-long bridge that was officially inaugurated today by Queen Maxima in Amsterdam’s oldest neighborhood. The silver-tone bridge, which features graceful curls and arches, is fully 3D printed. But that’s not the only thing remarkable. The “smart” bridge is equipped with ingenious sensors that constantly collect data about its performance.

world first
The footbridge, designed by Joris Larman, is real world first. It is the world’s first 3D printed steel bridge, made entirely with robotic arms. We find it in the center of Amsterdam, on the docks of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, near Stoofsteeg. The bridge is the result of a multidisciplinary team of experts working together on the future design of public space. For example, the Alan Turing Institute’s Data Centered Engineering (DCE) program and 3D printing company MX3D were part of the team.

3D printed smart bridge. Photo: Thea van den Heuvel

Experts argue that the stunning pedestrian bridge could revolutionize the way urban infrastructure is designed, built and maintained. 3D printed steel is a new material that can fundamentally change the traditional way of building. Safety is a top priority here. The bridge is therefore equipped with no less than 100 sensors, among other things.

These built-in sensors constantly collect data about the load on the bridge. Think about how the bridge shakes, bends, and tilts when people walk over it. Other sensors monitor temperature and humidity to determine how they affect the steel. The bridge is also equipped with video cameras. This innovative ‘sensor network’ is then linked to the so-called ‘digital twin’. This is a computer model that measures bridge performance in At present screens. This means that this digital twin can make accurate predictions about how the structure will behave when the bridge is used. So anyone who walks, runs, or bikes across the bridge generates data that helps monitor the bridge’s structure and provides information about its use.

This intelligent technology built into the bridge has many advantages. For example, a bridge can trigger the alarm itself at an early stage if maintenance is required. In addition, the digital twin helps engineers understand how 3D-printed steel can be used in larger and more complex construction projects.

Today, this smart and futuristic bridge is officially open to pedestrians. Queen Maxima was also present at this festive moment and was the first to use the bridge.

“We are very excited about the 3D-printed bridge project,” said Mark Girulami, DCE Program Manager. “Not only is it an amazing design, but with the sensors built into the bridge we are also the pioneers of dual digital technology. It is an important step towards a major change in the way we think about the world of technology and how we can improve our built environment. It is great to see the project come to life and to see The public is working on it.”

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