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Gijs van der Velden

CEO, MX3D

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Gijs van der Velden

CEO, MX3D

We’re Building A Bridge
to a New Way of Thinking About
Critical Infrastructure.

Gijs van der Velden

CEO, MX3D

“Every day, thousands of walkers and runners use our bridge to cross one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals, demonstrating that this is a safe and practical alternative to traditional construction methods,” says Gijs, CEO of the Dutch start-up behind the world’s first full-sized 3D-printed steel bridge.

Every journey across the 12-metre structure is being analysed in real time – this is a smart bridge, a ‘living laboratory’ which an international collaboration of engineers, data scientists, computer scientists and statisticians are using to improve structural integrity. Sensors collect data on metrics such as strain, displacement and vibration, and measure environmental factors including air quality and temperature. The data is inputted into a ‘digital twin’ of the bridge which is imitating the physical bridge with growing accuracy as the data comes in.

“At the moment, bridge maintenance is essentially inefficient,” adds Gijs. “It’s planned in at regular intervals in order to discover what work – if any – is actually needed. The sensor technology means that maintenance can be carried out exactly when the structure requires it. So the bridge will be safer to use and more efficient to manage.”

Beginning in 2017, Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s involvement helped the MX3D project gather important momentum. “Apart from providing vital funding, they introduced us to some of the biggest names in the industry,” says Gijs. “We’d never have been able to work with Imperial College or the Alan Turing Institute without the Foundation’s help. The collaboration that the Foundation inspired is proving the practicality of 3D printing. It’s helping to change how we think about infrastructure – and that will make the world a safer place.”

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Lloyd's Register Foundation, 2021.

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Our Impact Review 2021