FORCE Technology has developed the sensor network that provide input for the digital twin of a new 3D-printed bridge in Amsterdam. It makes it possible to follow the condition of the bridge real time.

15 July 2021

The Red Light District in Amsterdam has many bridges, but soon the district will get a new one, which stands out significantly from the others. The bridge is 3D-printed and equipped with a large sensor network, which gathers information about e.g. load, rotation, vibration, displacements, air quality and temperatures.

The large amount of data will be used as input to a 'digital twin' of the bridge - a computer model that reflects the physical bridge - which allows engineers and researchers to monitor the health of the bridge and how it changes during its course of life. Data will also provide an opportunity to 'teach' the bridge to understand what is happening on it, how many people are crossing it, and how fast.

The Dutch startup company MX3D has 3D-printed the bridge, and Danish FORCE Technology has been involved in designing and installing the sensor network:

"It is an exciting project to be involved in - because the construction of the bridge is unique, but also because the bridge is a living laboratory for researchers and engineers," says Eric Putnam, Head of department at Component and structure testing at FORCE Technology.

The smart cities of the future

The bridge isn’t just there, like so many other bridges. Our sensor network helps to make it 'intelligent', so that it can interpret its environment and the influences it is exposed to. It will provide valuable insight into how we can improve 3D-printed metallic structures and make the cities of the future more technologically secure, efficient and data-driven,” he says.

It is e.g. researchers from the Alan Turing Institute, the UK's National Institute of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, that will be analyzing the data.