Marathon Machines

Today’s Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) are often required to bore longer tunnels in harder rock at a faster pace – a trio of challenges that can be daunting for any contractor. With the proper design, operation, and maintenance, however, modern TBMs are very capable of reaching their 10 000-hour design life or more. TBMs in the industry today have already accomplished the feats of boring upwards of 50 km on multiple tunnels over decades, and of completing single TBM drives totaling 27 km. With new capabilities, even greater feats may be possible.

From abrasive rock to fault zones to water inflows, geologic challenges become more common as tunnel lengths increase. In rock tunnels over 15 km long, a host of challenges may meet a TBM, requiring a versatile design. General wear and tear is an issue on machines boring long stretches of tunnel, and thus minimization of downtime is key. In order to counteract these challenges, a number of design features can be added during the manufacturing process, and these, combined with regular maintenance and well-designed logistics during tunneling, can result in TBMs lasting for the tunnel length and...

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Issue 2013-03

Next Generation of Hybrid TBMs for Mixed Ground

In a mixed and unpredictable underground environment the increasing use of hybrid TBMs is one that goes with the territory. Where multiple machine types might have once been used for different...

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Issue 2018-06 Japan

Hiroshima Heavyweight launches on Expressway Line 5

On September 18, 2018, a Robbins slurry machine, measuring 13.7 m in diameter, made its first cut into hard rock

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Issue 2013-04 EPB Cutters

The Next Revolution in EPB Cutters – New Cutter Designs make an Impression in Mixed Ground

Six TBMs including three Robbins EPBs are tackling on this project in the underground of Mexico. The emergency project is needed urgently to prevent potential flooding of Mexico City’s wastewater...

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Issue 2014-02

The Robbins Company

If the tunnel-geology ranges from soft soils to weathered rock, the Robbins Company offers a solution: The Earth Pressure Balance Machine (EPBM). EPBMs are built for durability and longevity with a...

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Issue 2011-05

Innovations and Limitations of Two Long-Standing Soft Ground TBM Designs

EPB and Slurry TBMs, first developed in the 1960s and refined in the decades following, were designed around very different philosophies. Though both prototypes originated in Japan, EPBs were founded...

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