3D Printed Bollards under Installation in Rotterdam Harbour
3D Printed BollardsPort of Rotterdam

3D Printed Bollards under Installation in Rotterdam Harbour

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is installing the world’s first 3D-printed steel bollards on the new quay in the Sleepboothaven at Rotterdam Heijplaat. The

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is installing the world’s first 3D-printed steel bollards on the new quay in the Sleepboothaven at Rotterdam Heijplaat. The six bollards are part of a series of twelve 3D-printed bollards that the Port Authority and RAMLAB have co-developed. The 3D printing of bollards is part of the infrastructure innovation programme launched by the Port Authority to improve and increase sustainability in the manufacture and use of quayside hardware through scientific research, innovation and digitisation.

Traditionally, our bollards were always made from cast steel to a set design. By applying 3D printing technology, bollards can not only be made faster, but they can also be made closer to the location where they are to be installed, which helps make production more sustainable. The results of external testing show that the new bollards are of at least the same quality as cast steel ones. Eventually, the original shape of the bollards will be redesigned to ensure that in future they will be stronger and more durable.

The eleven 3D-printed bollards are to be installed on the new quay in the Sleepboothaven and will be used to moor vessels for Broekman Project Services.

RDM Rotterdam at Heijplaat, where Sleepboothaven is also located, is an incubator for the innovative manufacturing industry, where students, the business community and science work together to build the port of tomorrow. The Sleepboothaven was in need of renovation. As part of its refurbishment, various innovative, sustainable building concepts are being applied. For example, the quay wall was finished using precast concrete barrier elements that were installed without the need for a cofferdam. This reduced the construction time, which meant less inconvenience for the neighbourhood’s businesses. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and RAMLAB developed the bollards together. They are being printed at RAMLAB on the RDM site. The technique used is called Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) and involves the robotic welding of layers deposited on top of each other to form a 3D shape.

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