March 2021
Volume 73    Issue 3

Emerging data-processing technologies for TBM projects—state of the art and outlook

Mining Engineering , 2021, Vol. 73, No. 3, pp. 83-83
Gwildis, Ulf; Maidl, Ulrich; Rostami, Jamal


The old miner’s saying ‘All is dark ahead of the pick’ captures the uncertainty of geology and geotechnical conditions in mining as well as modern-day tunneling. Rapid technological advances in machine manufacturing allow tunnel boring machines (TBM) to be used in ever more challenging ground conditions. The new generations of TBMs have a significant level of sensory systems built in with the collected data available for analysis in near real-time. Data collection and processing provides increasing opportunities for analyzing the tunneling process, inferring face conditions encountered during tunneling, optimizing performance and providing and maintaining building information modeling (BIM) models for use over the design life of the underground structure. This article offers a snapshot of the current state of data collection and processing in tunneling for a variety of end uses and offers some thoughts on emerging technologies and technology transfers to mechanized tunneling projects that have the potential of impacting the tunneling practice and being a disruptive force in the industry. The discussion will provide a brief background on how the big data is changing tunneling and how these emerging technologies are being implemented in different projects.


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