Dutch company to use Additive Manufacturing system to build bridges

June 22, 2015

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Sketches of the bridge design by Joris Laarman

MX3D, a Dutch company focussed on the research and development of robotic Additive Manufacturing technology, plans to build a steel bridge in place over water in the centre of Amsterdam.

The company equips multi-axis industrial robots with 3D printing tools and develops software so that the robots print metals, plastics and combinations of materials in virtually any format. MX3D state that this technique can build strong, complex structures from durable materials, while being cost-effective and scalable.

“What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the ‘Printing Outside the box’ principle. By printing with six-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique,” stated Tim Geurtjens, the company’s CTO.

Building an intricate, ornate metal bridge for a special location is the ultimate test for robots and software, engineers, craftsmen and designers, stated MX3D. The bridge, by designer Joris Laarman, will be ready in 2017. 

mx3d-testing

The MX3D Bridge project would not exist without the support of partners, Autodesk, Heijmans, Air Liquide sponsors, ABB robotics, STV, Delcam, Within, Lenovo, public partners TU Delft, AMS, Amsterdam City Council

“I strongly believe in the future of digital production and local production, in ‘the new craft’. This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form. The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds,” stated Laarman.

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The bridge will be built in-situ in the centre of Amsterdam

 A partner in the project is software company Autodesk. “The MX3D platform is a potential game changer. Breaking free of the traditional limitations of Additive Manufacturing – small size prints and poor material performance – this technology opens up possibilities for architectural-scale, relatively low-cost, metal structures that are as complex as the designer’s imagination,” stated Maurice Conti, Director Strategic Innovation, Autodesk.

http://mx3d.com/projects/bridge/ 

   

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