Shaping the future of bridges
Together with industry leaders DSM and CEAD, we’re pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing with the world’s first lightweight 3D printed Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) bridge. In collaboration with our partners, we are shaping the future of bridges by using digital solutions to improve bridge design and construction, right from design through to maintenance and operation, enabling higher performance, increased flexibility, reduced time-to-market and quick upgrading of assets.
This breakthrough approach will transform bridge design, revolutionising the entire value chain and bringing about greater design freedom. By introducing 3D printing into infrastructure and environment, we can change the way bridges are designed and made creating new value for our clients.
Digitalising infrastructure - better, smarter and more sustainable
We’re using 3D printing, an additive manufacturing method, to build bridges by adding material layer-by-layer to form the final product. This is a step change in the way we design and construct bridges as it enables precision in the use of material thus resulting in zero wastage.
It also opens a new paradigm for design, enabling us to minimize weight and maximize strength using generative design and predictive modelling, which will fundamentally change the way we think about bridge design.
By including sensors in the design, we’re able to build a digital twin of the bridge. These sensors can predict and optimise maintenance, ensure safety and extend the life span of our bridges. This will improve the decision-making process for maintenance and inspection via dynamic real-time reports on the condition of the bridge. We can also extend the functionality of bridges in our cities by incorporating new sensors to monitor vital environmental aspects such as air quality, noise pollution and minimize operational hindrance.
These will propel infrastructure into the digital age and transform the value chain by introducing greater efficiencies, cost-effectiveness, reduced time-to-market and at the same time, provide greater sustainability.
DSM’s glass filled thermoplastic Arnite® reinforced with continuous glass fibres, is one of the few materials in the market that can be printed in such large size while providing the high-performance properties that a pedestrian bridge requires in terms of strength, flexibility and durability.
Additive manufacturing: transforming the value chain
By using additive manufacturing, parts of the bridge can be replaced faster and cheaper. Sections that are worn down can be re-printed and fitted quickly and easily. 3D printing technology also allows to manufacture designs that were not possible before, freeing bridge design from its manufacturing limitations. Because we are using a digitised process, we can speed up the production and implementation considerably, resulting in less disruption and minimising the impact of downtime. Digital manufacturing technology allows for localized production, reducing the need for shipping thus reducing carbon footprint.
Together we’re exploring new opportunities so that we can spearhead digitalisation in infrastructure and create new value for our clients.
Kees van IJselmuijden will be speaking at TCT Conference @Formnext, a world-leading event focused on additive manufacturing, 3D printing design, CAD/CAE, metrology and inspection. Taking place in Frankfurt from 19-22 November, Kees will be speaking on Friday 22 at 13.45 on the 3D printing of structural pedestrian bridges.
Earlier this year we unveiled the next generation of 3D-printed bridges together with our partners DSM and CEAD Group. We’re pushing the frontiers of additive manufacturing with a bridge that’s digital, circular, efficient and flexible. Stop by our stand to come and see our four metre prototype for yourself!
Get in touch
If you’re interested in learning more about how we’re shaping the future of bridge construction, contact us today!