Robots and 3D Printing revolutionising bridge construction
In the Netherlands, a Dutch start-up called MX3D plans to 3D print the first steel bridge.
The bridge will span over an Amsterdam canal by using robots with 3d print heads mounted on the end of the arms printers to extrude and weld the structure drop-by-drop in the first large-scale test of the technology.
The plan involves robotic arm printers ‘walking’ across the canal as it slides along the bridge’s edges that they have just created, essentially printing its own support structure out of thin air as it moves along. The specially designed robotic arms connect to a computer controlled welder to heat the metal to a searing 1,500 degrees Celsius as it is extruded.
The designers are now in talks with the Amsterdam city council to find a site for their project, which they hope will be completed by mid-2017.
Meanwhile in Spain, the first 3D-printed bridge in the world has been unveiled in a park in Madrid. The pedestrian bridge crossing was installed in the urban park of Castilla La Mancha in Spain’s capital city in December 2016 and now it is ready to be walked on.
The Bridge, which is 12 metres long and 1.75 metres wide, was printed in micro-reinforced concrete at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in what was to date, the first example of printing being applied in the field of civil engineering.