Project Update: World’s First 3D Printed Steel Bridge

MX3D Printed Bridge at DDW by Adriaan de Groot

Amsterdam, October 20th, 2018 – Amsterdam based startup MX3D has finalized its 3D printed steel bridge. The project is still ongoing, the smart bridge project (with stability tests) will last over the next 2 years. For this they will regularly use the FARO Laser Scanner and BuildIT Construction software.

The Bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab, with Arup as lead engineering partner is now ready to be installed at its final location, but will first be on display at the Dutch Design Week (DDW) in Eindhoven, from October 20th till 28th  2018.

In addition to its unique construction, the bridge is also a living laboratory for data scientists. It is instrumented by Autodesk, Force Technology, Imperial College London, Lenovo & HBM with an innovative sensor network. Data obtained from the sensors visualize intelligence about bridge traffic, structural integrity, and the surrounding neighborhood and environment. During the DDW visitors are invited to walk over the bridge to generate the first data set. Data from the bridge will be used by partners like The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, along with Autodesk to build a digital twin model and sensor network which use advanced data analysis to monitor the bridge’s performance in real-time.  The work on this 3D printed bridge will contribute to the future of safe, efficient and data-driven engineering by monitoring the structure as thousands of people and bicycles traverse the bridge hourly once in place.

MX3D Printed Bridge at DDW by Adriaan de Groot

Arup, the project’s Lead Engineer, and researchers from The Alan Turing’s Data Centric Engineering Programme (a consortium of researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge) have performed a successful load test of 10+ ton this September. Comparisons between predictions from computer models that the team have developed with the results from this test will be made to demonstrate the load carrying capacity of the bridge and provide invaluable structural performance data.

PARTNERS
The MX3D project has only been made possible through the close collaboration with partners Autodesk, Heijmans, Joris Laarman Lab and ArcelorMittal and the support of Lead Structural Engineer Arup, The Alan Turing Institute Data Centric Engineering Programme, Lloyds Register Foundation, Air Liquide, ABB Robotics and Lenovo.

Important contributions have been made by: Force Technologies, HBM, Oerlikon, Faro Technologies, STV, Oerlikon Welding, MousBV and Plymovent.

The public partners are TU Delft, Imperial College London, AMS Institute (Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions) and the Municipality of Amsterdam.

MX3D’s Visitor Center is supported by the Dutch VSB Fund.

MX3D Printed Bridge Top View by Joris Laarman Lab

SMART BRIDGE
The consortium of mathematicians from The Alan Turing Institute have teamed up with MX3D to deploy a smart sensor network to develop a new data centric engineering approach for 3D printed structures. Arup, Imperial College, Autodesk and Force Technologies are actively involved in the design, install and use of the sensors network.

These sensors will collect structural measurements such as strain, rotation, load, 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.

MX3D Printed Bridge at DDW by Adriaan de Groot

The data from the sensors will be used as input for 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 and ensures it is safe for pedestrians under all conditions.

New Partnerships
In March 2018 MX3D announced a partnership with Dutch bridge builder Haasnoot Bruggen. Together they serve the market for bicycle and pedestrian bridges in the Netherlands. The partners expect to present their first project soon, to be delivered in 2019.  On the 26th of October, Haasnoot and MX3D organize a lunch next to the Bridge in Eindhoven for interested clients. Please RSVP to info@mx3d.com.

Other Work
Parallel to this MX3D is working with artists, architects and several industrials to introduce Wire and Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) into their workflow. Large scale industrial prototypes are currently being produced in the MX3D workshop.

Pivots
Like all innovative projects the MX3D bridge project required several pivots. The initial design for the 12 meter metre bridge has changed significantly. Based on material research and structural testing Arup and Joris Laarman Lab created a structural design strategy. This led to the final bridge design by Joris Laarman Lab in early 2017.

In March 2017, the printing and assembly of large segments of the bridge began. In parallel MX3D engineers have continued working on realizing their vision of robots autonomously 3D-printing infrastructure. Last summer, a robot was placed on the bridge. It validated the company’s vision and confirmed that robots will be able to print bridges without human intervention.

Prizes
The Bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab, was awarded several prestigious prizes this year. The Projects received the STARTS Prize from the European Commission for the best Arts and Technology project, choosen out of 2300+ project worldwide.

The project also received a Dutch Design Award & the 3D Printing Challenge award.

Visitor & Expert center
The MX3D doors will remain open this winter! This is a great opportunity for professionals and the curious minded to see the printing process and the Bridge. Information can be found at: mx3d.com/visitor

Placement at final location
The bridge will be installed on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, at the crossing with the Stoofsteeg located in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, as soon as the renovation of that canal is completed, which will be no earlier than mid 2019.

Video and Blog
youtube, credit: video by Anita Star. For more information on the MX3D Bridge Project, visit the project blog:  www.mx3d.com/bridge and www.mx3d.com/news

FACTSHEET
Location Bridge: Oudezijds Achterburgwal, at the crossing with the Stoofsteeg located in the Red Light District of Amsterdam.

Technology: MX3D, Proprietary Software
Client: City of Amsterdam
Designer: Joris Laarman Lab
Lead Structural Engineer: Arup
Material & Structural Analysis: Imperial College London
Material Expert: ArcelorMittal
Research: AMS-3D Building Fieldlab, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions
Digital Tools: Autodesk
Digital Twin: Alan Turing Institute
Sensor Network Design &  Install: Force Technology & Autodesk
Scanning: Faro Technologies
Construction Expert: Heijmans & Mous
Hardware, computing: Lenovo
Hardware, robotics: ABB
Hardware, Sensor Network: HBM
Hardware, welding: Oerlikon
Hardware, air cleaning: Plymovent
Welding Gas: Air Liquide
Material: Stainless Steel
Length: 12.2 meter
Width: 6.3 meter
Height: 2.1 meter

MORE ON ALL THE PARTNERS

MX3D, WE SPEAK ROBOT.
The Dutch company MX3D develops robotic metal 3D print technology. The company is expanding rapidly and currently hiring new staff. Their intelligent proprietary software turns an off-the-shelf robotic arm and a welding machine in an industrial powerhouse. In collaboration with Autodesk, TU Delft, ArcelorMittal, ABB, Lenovo, Arup, Airliquide MX3D has become a technology provider for several industrial parties that are entering the market for large scale metal printing.

Creative projects are used to develop critical knowhow by doing. The bronze Butterfly Screen by Joris Laarman led to the ability to print a Marine Shipping Propeller. Other R&D http://mx3d.com/projects/ enabled the company to 3D print a fully functional piece of infrastructure: the 3D printed Bridge for the city center of Amsterdam.

Tim Geurtjens, Co Founder
“A few years ago we came up with the idea to use the robotic 3D-metal printers that we developed to print a functional full size steel bridge. Together with the excitement of this crazy idea also came the realization that there was no way we could pull this off alone.”

“For a complex and crazy project like this to succeed, you need many smart and enthusiastic people. We are very grateful that we had the opportunity to work with some of the top people and businesses in the field of robotics, engineering, welding technique and software development.”

Joris Laarman, Co Founder / Bridge Designer
“Right from the first little 3d printed steel blobs that showed we were able to control the process, this felt like the discovery of a new continent of possibilities.”

“Evolution is a truly wonderful process that we try to harness in our work. Endlessly trying, refining, improving until slowly, something emerges that is so ingenious it looks like magic if you don’t know what went on before. In our work, we try to capture some of that magic. Using emerging technology to develop objects and a visual language of the future that is informed by logic, we aim to make small leaps in that evolutionary process.”

Gijs van der Velden, CEO / Co Founder
“After such a challenging project the MX3D team is proud to be able to invite people to use the bridge for the first time. This will help us to generate the data we need to make our designs more intelligent every time”, “For us the Bridge is only the beginning, MX3D has and will introduce its metal printing in many more metal industries in the years to come”.

Joris Laarman Lab
Founded in 2004 by Joris Laarman and Anita Star the Lab works at the intersection of design, art, and science, Joris Laarman and his multidisciplinary team are known for their pioneering and elegant applications of digital technologies. From the iconic Bone Chair, digitally generated from algorithms that mimic bone growth, to a fully functional metal bridge using advanced robotic 3D printing, Joris Laarman Lab is revolutionizing the design process. Joris Laarman Lab has over 70 works in 40 museums in 10 countries like the MoMA, V&A, Centre Pompidou and recently the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 2011 Joris Laarman received an innovator of the year award by the wall street journal and in 2016 the Amsterdam art Prize. In November 2015 an extensive solo exhibition of the experimental work initiated by the Groningen museum started touring the world and welcomed over 460.000 visitors up to now. This exhibition including a display of the bridge update travelled to high profile museums such as  the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian design museum, The High museum in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. www.jorislaarman.com

Haasnoot Bruggen
Haasnoot Bruggen is since 1962 specialized in designing, constructing and building bike and pedestrian bridges with a track record of delivering 11.000 bridges to date. The bridges are made in a production facility of 14.000 m2 in wood, steel, fiber reinforced composites, concrete or in combination of different materials. Haasnoot Bruggen covers full project scoop from initial idea to installation. In addition to engineering and manufacturing Haasnoot Bruggen is a compliance partner and often asked for consult in the preliminary stage of a project. Haasnoot Bruggen is a privately held family owned company. www.haasnootbruggen.nl. Gijs van der Velden, CEO / Co Founder: “Collaborating with Haasnoot bruggen will enable MX3D to offer a 1 stop solution for clients interested in a fully certified 3D printed bridge”

Autodesk
Autodesk makes software for people who make things. Its role in this project is to help provide the bridge with a nervous system. This is achieved by supplying the partners with the modeling and simulation software required to design the sensor network. Additionally, Autodesk will host all data collection, storage, and processing as needed to support the digital twin model and related machine learning development. https://www.autodesk.com/internet-of-things. Extending our partnership with MX3D has provided Autodesk a platform to test and develop our  IoT  digital twin  technologies to help MX3D make its bridge the most advanced smart structure in the world in its design, creation, and use,” said Alex Tessier, senior principal research scientist, Autodesk. “This project with  MX3D  has brought together an amazing team of experts and together, we are exploring the cutting edge in smart infrastructure  and what it means for sustainability and growth within our cities and beyond.”

ArcelorMittal
“Thanks to ArcelorMittal partnership with MX3D, we have been able to assess the printed steel quality and mechanical properties. This important step enables us to further develop specific grades dedicated to 3D printing from wires”, said Olivier Vassart, ArcelorMittal Global R&D Portfolio Leader, Long Products. ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, we are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks. In 2017, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $68.7 billion and crude steel production of 93.1 million tonnes, while own iron ore production reached 57.4 million tonnes.

Heijmans
Heijmans is a listed company that combines activities related to property development, residential building, non-residential building, roads and civil engineering in the areas living, working and connecting. Our constant focus on quality improvements, innovation and integrated solutions enables us to generate added value for our clients. Heijmans realises projects for private consumers, companies and the public sector and, in partnership with its clients, is building the spatial contours of tomorrow. You will find additional information on www.heijmans.nl.

Lenovo
Lenovo is a US$43 billion global Fortune 500 company and a leader in providing innovative consumer, commercial, and enterprise technology. Our portfolio of high-quality, secure products and services covers PCs, workstations, servers, storage, smart TVs and a family of mobile products like smartphones (including the Motorola brand), tablets and apps and are sold in over 160 countries around the world. Known for product innovation, performance and reliability, Lenovo offers a wide portfolio of mobile and desktop workstations. These high performance workstations are designed to not just meet, but exceed the technology requirements of users across a wide range of professional applications and disciplines; combining maximum performance with outright platform reliability. Lenovo is also committed to promoting the people and stories around the world who are looking change their industry, communities and environments in groundbreaking ways through the use of technology, with a dedication to creating the right hardware and supporting those who use them. Based on that commitment, we are proud to partner and support MX3D push the boundaries of what’s possible and revolutionize the world around all of us.

Arup
Arup is an independent firm of designer, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists working across every aspect of today’s built environment. With more than 13,000 specialists, working in more than 35 countries. Early involved as structural engineer, Arup worked in close collaboration with Joris Laarman to come up with the design in 2016. Arup now defines a testing sequence to support design by experiments and prove the structural capacity of the bridge. In addition, Arup gives technical advice on site, helps Mx3D in the ongoing process with the municipality and to coordinate with other technical partners.  www.arup.com

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation
The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is a UK charity which supports the research and development of ideas that can benefit our society by reducing the safety risks of critical infrastructures. http://www.lrfoundation.org.uk/

The Alan Turing Institute
The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and AI. The Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research in data science and AI, apply its research to real-world problems, drive economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists, and shape the public conversation around data. The Alan Turing Institute will use the collected data to create a digital twin for the bridge. This twin can be used to validate new designs for infrastructure created by robotic additive manufacturing. By doing this, the future of digital manufacturing will be explored and new techniques will be used to improve the process. www.turing.ac.uk. Mark Girolami, Turing’s Programme Director for Data Centric Engineering said:  ‘3D printing is poised to become a major player in engineering, and we need to develop novel data centric approaches for testing and monitoring to realise its full potential. When we couple 3D printing with digital twin technology, we can then accelerate the infrastructure design process, ensuring that we design optimal and efficient structures with respect to environmental impact, architectural freedom and manufacturing costs.

Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a world top ten university with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Located in the heart of London,  Imperial is a multidisciplinary space for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle global challenges. The Steel Structures Research Group within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are providing technical engineering support to the MX3D Bridge project. Destructive material testing and pure compression structural element tests have been undertaken in London, and these results are used in the advanced finite element computer modelling of the bridge. Non-destructive testing has been undertaken on the partially and fully completed bridge to demonstrate its load carrying capacity and to compare with the predictions from the computer model. The structural response of the MX3D Bridge predicted by the finite element model has influenced the design of the long-term sensor network. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/steel-structures/ 

HBM
HBM is a leading supplier of measurement and data-acquisition technology. The company offers a wide range of transducers, data-acquisition equipment and software solutions for analysis and visualisation of measurement data. One of the main focus area’s of HBM is Structural Health Monitoring for infrastructure, installations, machines and vehicles. For this purpose HBM has developed integrated solutions. For the MX3D-project HBM has supplied straingauge technology, load cells, accelerometers, inclinometers, soundmeters and data-acquisition equipment, that will continuously monitor the load and the status of the bridge. Using the data, maintenance and safety can be optimized. On 1 January 2019 HBM will merge with Brüel & Kjær, a company that also is part of Spectris plc. The new company will build on the technical expertise and solutions of both companies. Brüel & Kjær supplies advanced technology for measurement and monitoring of sound and vibrations, while HBM develops solutions for measurement and monitoring of physical quantities and electrical properties. As a result of the combination of these fields of expertise HBK will be able to provide an integrated solution, comprising many different transducers, data-acquisitie equipment, software solutions and services in the field of engineering. HBK especially focuses on research institutes; automotive, metal and proces industry; building and construction; machine- and shipbuilding, aerospace; the offshore industry and agriculture.

FARO
FARO® is the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging and realization technology. The company develops and manufactures leading edge solutions that enable high-precision 3D capture, measurement and analysis across a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, engineering and public safety. FARO provides AEC professionals best-in-class surveying technology and point cloud processing software that allows them to get their physical building and infrastructure sites into the digital world (along all phases of their life cycle). FARO was involved in many stages of the MX3D project with the FARO Focus S350 Laser Scanner. FARO helped to verify if the bridge structure was built according to the design 3D model using FARO BuildIt Construction software. The laser scanner was also used to verify and visualise the bridge installation in its final location. It has also been critical for internal communication within the project team, and externally to explain the bridge project to stakeholders. In another application a FARO Arm was used to create an accurate as built (or printed) 3D data set of sectional parts of the bridge, this was used to create stress analysis and CFD models. AEC customers benefit from high quality and complete data capturing, faster processes, reduced project costs, minimized waste and so increase their profitability. www.faro.com

Oerlikon Welding
Oerlikon – a leading international brand with the commitment to create value for customers, by bringing them innovative technologies, products and services in welding and cutting – is proud to be a partner of MX3D in the 3D printing bridge’s project. The CITOWAVE III welding equipment of Oerlikon proved to have the right arc characteristics required during the production of the bridge. Oerlikon is part of Lincoln Electric since august 2017.

ABB
“ABB Robotics is a proud supporter of MX3D and we are impressed to see that the MX3D dream of building a 3D printed bridge is becoming reality”, said Martin Ter Have. ABB is a leading supplier of industrial robots and robot software, equipment and complete application solutions. We’re at home in 53 countries and have installed more than 300,000 robots, supported by the broadest service network and offering in the industry. Beside the traditional industries like automotive and food & beverage a number of new exciting markets are adopting more and more industrial robots. Building industries is one of them and creating a bridge via 3D printing with arc welding robots is a challenging project to prove that also industrial robots have benefits in the building industry.

Airliquide Gas
The world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health, Air Liquide is present in 80 countries with approximately 65,000 employees and serves more than 3.5 million customers and patients. Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are essential small molecules for life, matter and energy. They embody Air Liquide’s scientific territory and have been at the core of the company’s activities since its creation in 1902. Air Liquide’s ambition is to lead its industry, deliver long term performance and contribute to sustainability. The company’s customer-centric transformation strategy aims at profitable growth over the long term. It relies on operational excellence, selective investments, open innovation and a network organization implemented by the Group worldwide. Through the commitment and inventiveness of its people, Air Liquide leverages energy and environment transition, changes in healthcare and digitization, and delivers greater value to all its stakeholders. Air Liquide’s revenue amounted to 20.3 billion euros in 2017 and its solutions that protect life and the environment represented more than 40% of sales. Air Liquide is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange (compartment A) and belongs to the CAC 40, EURO STOXX 50 and FTSE4Good indexes. By participating in MX3D BRIDGE project, which is being conducted using the open innovation approach, Air Liquide illustrates its ability to enable new technologies to emerge for its customers and develop the manufacture of objects that have been impossible to make until now.

www.airliquide.com –  @airliquidegroup

Amsterdam institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions
AMS Institute (Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions) was set up in Amsterdam in 2014 as a partnership between Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University & Research, in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). AMS Institute develops knowledge and solutions for the sustainable and future-proof development of the city of Amsterdam and metropolitan areas worldwide. AMS Institute combines knowledge, education, data and network, using Amsterdam as its living lab. By exploring the possibilities of 3D printing for infrastructural use we want to contribute to re-designing public space and improve urban mobility. At MX3D designers, engineers and other scientists are collaborating intensively in the AMS-3D Building FieldLab, developing new expertise and experimenting with digital construction and the use of robotics, particularly for infrastructure projects. The lab functions as a centre for expertise and a platform for collaboration between the government, the business community and knowledge institutions. “MX3D is one of the amazing ventures that brings the future of digital fabrication to the present. 3D Building FieldLab is proud to contribute to the next step in digital craftsmanship, sustainable manufacturing, and augmented fabrication”, says Jouke Verlinden, principal investigator of the 3D Building FieldLab & Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft.

City of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a city which was established not for nobility, but for the merchants, traders and entrepreneurs. The city has always opened its doors to a diverse range of people, creating a melting pot of ideas which has allowed the spirit of curiosity and innovation to flourish. In today’s world, this spirit has continued to be embodied by the many startup companies and entrepreneurs which take advantage of Amsterdam’s unique environment. Here they can experiment with new products and services and rapidly make their ideas a reality. However, innovation also requires collaboration and Amsterdam offers a unique blend of knowledge institutes, corporate businesses, NGOs and the people of Amsterdam who can partner with each other. That is why we are proud that Amsterdam has been named the European Capital of Innovation for 2017. To honour this recognition, the MX3D printed bridge will tangible represent the innovative spirit that has always been cultivated in the historic centre of Amsterdam. For more information: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/business/news-and-insights/capital-of-innovation

Plymovent:
Plymovent, a leading global clean air company, provides an advanced weld fume removal solution for the innovative bridge project MX3D. As a result, Plymovent offered the MDB-COMPACT; a compact integrated filter, fan and controls unit that harnesses the proven and unbeaten technology of the MultiDust Bank. Due to its compact design the MDB-COMPACT is the ideal choice for applications where a self-cleaning filter system is needed near the source of pollution. Exactly the situation in Amsterdam during the printing of the metal bridge. The sponsoring of Plymovent is an excellent example of how Plymovent is participating in the future. Innovation is essential to come to sustainable and effective solutions. The MX3D-project is for Plymovent the future of an automated construction site. As a result of advanced information and communication technology and robotics, new possibilities arise in the field of design, types of material used, fabrication, logistics and safety and Plymovent is right there! www.plymovent.com