Robots in construction: 3D-printed infrastructure

The first 3D-printed concrete bridge has been completed in the Netherlands as a crossing for cyclists, but construction company BAM Infra claims it could take the weight of 40 lorries. Made from pre-fabricated concrete blocks 3D-printed by robots, the 8-metre-long bridge forms part of a new ring-road being constructed around Gemert in the Dutch province of Brabant.

3D printed bridge, Amsterdam

BAM Infra and Eindhoven University of Technology collaborated on the project, which they claim is the "world's first 3D printed reinforced, pre-stressed concrete bridge".

It took three months for robots to print the 800 layers of pre-stressed, reinforced concrete in sections in the university's laboratory. The unique design uses less concrete than a traditional poured concrete bridge, making it a more sustainable construction process.

"We are connecting for the future," said Marinus Schimmel, director of BAM Infra. "Innovation plays a crucial role in this. 3D printing does away with the need for auxiliary materials, such as formwork. This greatly reduces the amount of waste and decreases our use of scarce raw materials. And this working method also has a positive effect on CO2 emissions during the production process of the bridge."

Read the full article here.

While this is the first bridge to be printed, the world has seen other 3D printed infrastructure, such as the 5-storey, 3D-printed apartment building in China in 2015 and ten 3D-printed houses that were completed in one day in 2014! Watch the video of them being constructed here.

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