TBM | International

A Tradition of Innovation: The Next Push for Machine Tunneling

This paper is an abridged version of the talk written and presented by Dick Robbins, president and CEO of The Robbins Company from 1958 to 1993. The 2013 Sir Alan Muir Wood Lecture was given as the keynote lecture at the ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress in Geneva, Switzerland in May of this year. This lecture is reprinted with the permission of the International Tunnelling Association (ITA).


As a relatively mature industry, the world of machine tunneling is more conservative than it once was. While there is a place for standardized machinery and design elements on many projects, some projects require ingenuity and a progressive approach. Challenging and risky projects will always be a part of our industry and stepping out of the comfort zone of standardized techno-logy on these tunnels is part of achieving success. The effect of industry-wide conservatism is often the outcome of an effort to drive down risk, whether that is through contractual practices, industry...

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