Dutch firms to print 3D steel bridge in its capital city

19 June 2015

Dutch construction services firm Heijmans has announced that it will collaborate with Dutch start-up MX3D on the 3D printing of a steel bridge, to be located in the centre of Amsterdam. 

The bridge will be designed by Dutch designer Joris Laarman.

MX3D equips multi-axis industrial robots with 3D printing tools, and develops software so that the robots can print metals, plastics and a combination of materials in virtually any format.

Using this technique MX3D says it can print strong, complex structures made of durable materials. The start-up believes its new techniques are cost-effective and scalable, more so than current 3D printing methods, while also offering creative robot production solutions in fields such as art and construction.

Laarman says he “strongly believes” in the future of digital production, and 3D printing. “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 eventual aim is to create an automatic construction site,” adds Heijmans Infra business development manager Jan van de Ven. “Robots, which were previously only suitable for serial production, are now able to do a great deal more thanks to today’s computing power and the user-friendliness of software.

“‘On demand’ is quickly increasing in popularity in all sectors. There is increasing demand for special shapes – and everything has to be as cheap as possible. 3D printing is the culmination of all these requirements.”

“In our opinion, these developments should also be a real wake-up call for our education system. IT is one of the most under-rated aspects in the construction sector, but is one of the main driving forces for innovation. “

The construction sector needs people who are able to understand IT, construction, as well as design. But today’s qualifications are not combining these three important factors.”
MX3D and the City of Amsterdam will “announce the exact location of the bridge soon”.

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue