First steel bridge produced by 3D printer can now be visited


Structure will have sensors that will help monitor aspects such as “tension, movement, vibration and temperature” as it is traversed. Simultaneously, the technology of machine learning, will allow detecting the need for maintenance or modification.

With 4500 kilos of weight and built using four industrial robots, the first steel bridge printed through the Netherlands is already installed in the canals of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. 3D printing technology.

The infrastructure took a long time six months to conclude and was transported to the place where it is currently installed, on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal, during the second week of July, and is already open to passersby and cyclists.

Incorporated into the structure are more than a dozen sensors that should monitor factors such as “tension, movement, vibration and temperature” as it goes through and climate change exerts its influence. The data collected will be entered into a digital model of the bridge, says the New Scientist.

The model will be used by engineers to study the properties of the material, characterized as “unique”, with the help of machine learning, in order to detect data that may indicate the need for maintenance or modification.

Along the same lines, engineers also hope to understand other possible uses for 3D printed steel, namely in bigger buildings and more complex.

Mark Girolami, from Cambridge University, is working on the digital model of the bridge with a team at the Alan Turing Institute in London, and has revealed that failures often observed in bridges reveal deterioration that remained undetected. As such, constant information on the status of bridges can help to prevent the failures referred to through advance notices, points Girolami.

The researcher argues that the first resistance indicators of the 3D steel bridge are “positive”.

“One of the aspects we found was that the aspects related to resistance depend on print orientation. But what was somewhat surprising was that the base strength was what you would expect from just rolled steel, and it actually increased in some directions.”