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MX3D 3D printed a fully functional stainless steel bridge to cross one of the oldest and most famous canals in the center of Amsterdam, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. We equip typical industrial robots with purpose-built tools and develop the software to control them. The unique approach allows us to 3D print strong, complex and graceful structures out of metal. The goal of the MX3D Bridge project is to showcase the potential applications of our multi-axis 3D printing technology.
The MX3D Bridge is designed by Joris Laarman Lab, Arup is the lead structural engineer, ArcelorMittal provides the metallurgical expertise, Autodesk assists with their knowledge on digital production tools, Heijmans is our construction expert, Lenovo supports us with computational hardware, ABB is the robotics specialist, Air Liquide & Oerlikon know everything about welding and lastly, Plymovent protects the air our employees breath whilst AMS and TU Delft do invaluable research. Gemeente Amsterdam is the first customer of our collaborative bridge building department.
MX3D 3D printed a 12 meter long stainless steel pedestrian bridge, and is now placed and crossing one of the Amsterdam’s canals in the old city center since 2021. We have teamed up with a consortium of mathematicians, IoT specialists and e to develop a smart sensor network to monitor the bridge’s health in real time. A great example of data centric engineering.
The partners joining the MX3D project include: Autodesk, The Alan Turing Institute and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS).
The team from The Alan Turing Institute is responsible for designing and installing a sensor network on the bridge. These sensors will collect structural measurements such as strain, displacement and vibration, and will measure environmental factors such as air quality and temperature, enabling engineers to measure the bridge’s health in real time and monitor how it changes over its lifespan. This data will also allow us to “teach” the bridge to understand what is happening on it, how many people are crossing it and how quickly.
The data from the sensors will be input into a ‘digital twin’ of the bridge, a living computer model that will reflect the physical bridge with growing accuracy in real time as the data comes in. The performance and behaviour of the physical bridge can be tested against its digital twin, which will provide valuable insights to inform designs for future 3D printed metallic structures. It will also enable the current 3D bridge to be modified to suit any required changes in use, ensuring it is safe for pedestrians under all conditions.
Autodesk is supplying the cloud services that will power the bridge’s data collection and processing. Autodesk is also working with The Alan Turing Institute researchers to develop machine learning algorithms that will enable the bridge to interpret and to react intelligently to its environment. AMS will be implementing new ways to use, visualize and connect the bridge’s data to other sources of environmental data in the Metropolitan Area of Amsterdam.