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Autodesk, one of the world's leading software suppliers for 3D design, construction, planning and entertainment, is dedicating its stand at HANNOVER MESSE 2017 to the future world of production. To present the wide range of possibilities that are now on the cards, the Munich-based company has selected four pilot applications focusing on the key topics of robotics and industrial 3D printing. The examples of 3D metal printing, self-monitoring robot systems and automobiles designed with the aid of AI reveal just some of the ways these technologies are already being put to very good use in real life.

The most spectacular of the four exhibits has to be the MX3D project -a steel bridge that's being printed in 3D. While this kind of process used to be pretty much limited to producing small components, the MX3D project demonstrates the potential this technology holds for XXL objects as well. Autodesk's Project Dreamcatcher has been instrumental in developing the bridge that Dutch company MX3D is currently constructing across one of Amsterdam's countless canals. The generative design software uses algorithms to test and learn from each iteration to identify which shapes work and which don't. This gives rise to extremely complex constructions in which even minuscule amounts of material are added in just the right place. This method creates optimized structures that are far more robust than conventional constructions - and which until now were hindered by the lack of capable hardware. But the advent of 6-axis robots that can use 3D processes to weld metal at any location has now enabled the creation of even large complex components. Visitors to the Autodesk stand at HANNOVER MESSE can get a glimpse of the potential this technology offers in the shape of one of the components of the steel bridge in question.