The Dutch Technology Startup MX3D has won the prestigious STARTS prize for their 3D printed stainless steel bridge awarded by the European Commission.

12 June 2018

Various companies including FORCE Technology are involved in realising MX3D´s dream to create a fully functional 3D printed steel bridge crossing one of the canals in Amsterdam.

The bridge was printed by 4 robots during a period of 6 months and consists of 4500 kg of stainless steel. It is made of sections of approx. 1 m each and afterwards welded together to form a 12.2 m long bridge. 

As this method has never been applied to a bridge it faces various challenges. Will the bridge stand the future load of people crossing it and how is the fatigue resistance of a 3D printed bridge? Those are among the issues that remain to be explored.

Developing a complete monitoring system

FORCE Technology is involved in developing a complete monitoring system to verify the strength of the bridge and its behaviour by means of strain gauges and accelerometers among others. Hence the actual stresses are verified by measuring and they can then be compared to the calculated ones. 

“FORCE Technology has been attracted to take part in the MX3D Smart Bridge project for being trailblazers in designing, building, and implementing innovative manufacturing and infrastructure monitoring. FORCE Technology is attracted to all aspects of the project from the 3D printing in stainless steel to the advanced sensor network to the IoT and big-data solutions for analysing structural performance and for determining the bridge’s usage and surroundings. These activities tie-in closely to existing and developing service areas at FORCE Technology, and we are looking forward to learn from and develop with the group these innovative solutions, “says Øjvind Andersen Clement, CEO of FORCE Technology. 

STARTS projects

This prestigious award singles out for recognition innovative projects at the interface of science, technology and the arts—hence the acronym STARTS. This initiative identifies and honours projects that demonstrate the successful interplay of science, technology and art, and have the potential to contribute to economic and social innovation. 

This competition is held in conjunction with the STARTS Initiative of the European Commission, which sees the digital transformation of industry, culture and society as the primary force driving forms of collaboration that advance innovation by transcending the boundaries of discrete disciplines and genres.

The MX3D printed bridge, photo by Thijs Wolzak
The 12 m 3D printed bridge made from 4,500 kg stainless steel. Photo by Thijs Wolzak
MX3D bridge design by Joris Larrman Lab
The 3D bridge design by Joris Laarman Lab