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Vertico 3D prints a bridge using 60% less concrete

Published on September 23, 2019 by Carlota V.

In the Netherlands, Vertico has 3D printed a bridge in collaboration with the University of Ghent: the startup company is exploring the potential of concrete additive manufacturing, convinced that it can reduce CO2 emissions by saving the amount of material used and increasing productivity using topology optimization. One thing is certain, the Dutch market has never been so advanced when it comes to 3D technologies and construction, multiplying projects over the months – such as MX3D, which has created a steel bridge with the WAAM method.

Vertico was founded in 2017 and quickly offered large format 3D printing solutions, from mobile 3D printers mounted on a robotic arm to a Rohaco machine mounted on a wide gantry, offering a printing volume of 8 x 5 x 2.2 meters. Its technology has enabled it to create a concrete canoe or the facade of a wall composed of 50 unique elements, weighing 2.5 tons. This time, Vertico worked with the University of Ghent to design a pedestrian bridge, not very imposing in terms of size but rather aesthetic and above all more intelligent in the use of materials. The two partners explain that they have indeed carried out a real topological optimization work to remove unnecessary material.

vertico

The wall façade designed by Vertico

Vertico’s founder, Volker Ruitinga, explains: “This bridge showcases the range of possibilities that 3D concrete printing offers. At Vertico, we believe that this technology is the key to unlocking material optimisation in structures, reducing CO2 emissions whilst simultaneously increasing productivity in the construction industry.” Today, the construction sector is thought to represent 23% of global CO2 emissions while Vertico’s concrete 3D printing solution should save 60% of concrete. It is easy to imagine how it can participate to a cleaner environment.

The two partners are quite discreet about the dimensions of the small bridge and the printing time required; we simply know that Vertico has used its robotic 3D printer which offers a printing volume of 4.5 x 2 x 2.5 m, with a concrete mix specially designed for customers’ use for large and small projects. The Dutch company is said to have taken inspiration from organic forms to design the bridge. It should be able to withstand the same constraints as a normal bridge. We don’t know where it will be installed, whether it will stay in the Netherlands or not; one thing is certain, we can climb on it with several people.

The 3D printed bridge

Vertico is currently working on the 3D printing of a concrete dome, which should start production in February 2020. In the meantime, you can find more projects and information HERE.

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