Rotterdam to get world’s first lightweight 3D printed footbridge

Footbridge made from a fiber reinforced thermoplastic

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Rotterdam
Rendering of 3D printed footbridge

Royal HaskoningDHV, DSM – a science-based company in nutrition, health and sustainable living, and City of Rotterdam, have announced the intention to collaborate in the design and build of a new circular composite footbridge which will be installed in Rotterdam. The world’s first lightweight 3D printed fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) footbridge will be installed at Kralingse Bos park. The circular composite footbridge is made from a fiber reinforced thermoplastic called Arnite.

“The 3D printed FRP footbridge as a circular composite aligns with our city’s ambitious sustainability targets to reduce carbon footprint and promote liveability and we are proud to be the first city to test, print and install it,” Mozafar Said, asset manager from the City of Rotterdam, said. “We see the use of composite bridges as a smart solution to replacing our older constructions. With more than 1000 bridges in Rotterdam, we are constantly looking to push the boundaries to develop the next generation of bridges which will be more sustainable and circular with lower maintenance and lifecycle costs.”

According to Maurice Kardas, business development manager at Royal HaskoningDHV: “We announced the prototype of this circular composite bridge in 2019 and with the vision and support of our partners DSM and the City of Rotterdam we can now take this one step further.”

Patrick Duis, senior application development specialist additive manufacturing at DSM added: “The printed circular composite bridge enables the transition to a more sustainable and circular type of bridges with minimal wear and tear. Now that we have the new circular composite of recyclable source material along with the required performance properties available to us, we can start taking the environment-friendly design of the infrastructure to the next level.”

The footbridge will be developed strictly in line with the highest standards of safety for FRP bridge design. The city of Rotterdam infrastructure experts in composite bridges will be closely involved in the design and build process.

Sensors could also be included into the footbridge to build a digital twin of the bridge. The sensors can predict and optimise maintenance, ensuring safety and extend the life span of the bridge. It is estimated the footbridge will be installed and in use by the end of 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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