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Major general contractor Taisei Corp. on Tuesday showed the media a bridge built using a 3D printer.

The prestressed concrete bridge, which has undergone an intensity test, marks a first in Japan, according to the company.

Taisei plans to accelerate research and development with the aim of using the method to create pillars and beams as well.

The bridge, which is 1.2 meters wide, 1 meter high and 6 meters long, was made by inserting prestressed concrete steel into 44 parts created by the 3D printer and putting them together.

Until now, 3D printers have been used mainly to create elaborately designed products.

“It means a lot that we successfully tested the use of a 3D printer to construct structures like a bridge,” a Taisei official said.

The 3D printer-based bridge construction, which requires the use of special concrete, is costlier than conventional methods.

But the use of 3D printers is expected to add value to structures because they can create objects with complex shapes in a short period of time without formwork.

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