December 2017
Volume 69    Issue 12

A way forward through challenging tunnel boring machine conditions

Mining Engineering , 2017, Vol. 69, No. 12, pp. 98-100


When boring a tunnel, homogeneous hard rock is the exception rather than the rule. While contractors can set goals such as meters per month and performance incentives, it is also prudent to plan for difficult ground. A properly designed tunnel boring machine (TBM) can tackle fault zones, water inflows, squeezing ground, or whatever the risk may be. The alternative is not a good one: modifying the machine in the tunnel after bad ground is encountered. Not only does this result in increased downtime, but it also needlessly exposes the crew to the tunnel conditions. In the worst case scenario, the entire operation grinds to a halt.  

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