Crossing the digital frontier

MX3D, an Amsterdam-based start-up, has been tasked with 3D printing a 12-metre long stainless steel pedestrian bridge that will be installed across one of Amsterdam’s canals in the city centre by late 2018.

The company will also join forces with a consortium of mathematicians, IoT specialists and engineers from Autodesk, The Alan Turing Institute and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) to develop a smart sensor network to monitor the bridge’s health in real time and monitor how it changes over its lifespan.

The sensors will collect structural measurements such as strain, displacement and vibration, and will measure environmental factors including air quality and temperature. The data collected will then be input into a ‘digital twin’ of the bridge, which will help to provide valuable insights to inform designs for future 3D printed metallic structures. It will also enable the current 3D bridge to be modified to suit any required changes in use, ensuring it is safe for pedestrians under all conditions