Year: 2021

Cutting Edge 2021

Event Name: Cutting Edge Conference
Dates: November 15-17, 2021
Location: Dallas, Texas, USA

Come visit Robbins at the Cutting Edge Conference, and learn more about the largest hard rock TBM ever to operate in the USA at the Mill Creek Project. The 11.6 m (38.1 ft) diameter Robbins Main Beam TBM is excavating an 8 km (5 mi) long tunnel in Dallas, and is the conference’s main field trip.  The annual Cutting Edge Conference examines the latest advances in tunneling technology, its methodology and how they can be harnessed to assist the nation’s major upcoming underground projects. Visit Robbins at our booth and talk to our experts with decades of experience on our latest projects and products.


The Utility Expo

Event Name: The Utility Expo 2021
Dates: September 28-30
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Venue: Kentucky Exposition Center
Booth: N1961

Covering more than 30 acres, The Utility Expo is the largest event for utility professionals and construction contractors seeking the latest industry technologies, innovations, and trends. Visit Robbins at our indoor booth N1961 and talk with our expert staff on our latest products and projects. We look forward to seeing you there!


Robbins XRE TBM bores Eşme-Salihli Railway Tunnel

Esme Salihli XRE launch

A Robbins Crossover machine is boring Turkey’s 3.05 km (1.90 mi) Eşme-Salihli Railway Tunnel through mixed conditions including sandstone, gravelstone, claystone, and siltstone for contractor Kolin Construction.

A Robbins 13.77 m (45.18 ft) diameter Crossover XRE TBM launched recently in spring 2021 in Eşme, Turkey. The large machine is boring the 3.05 km (1.90 mi) Eşme-Salihli Railway Tunnel through mixed conditions including sandstone, gravelstone, claystone, and siltstone. Contractor Kolin Construction expects some occasional groundwater and weak rock between 5 to 9 MPa (720 to 1,300 psi) UCS, with the potential for a gassy environment.

The titanic TBM was launched after more than seven years in storage, and following a few upgrades to systems to ensure they meet the newest safety and efficiency standards. “I am very happy that the TBM has been launched. Up to now, the machine has bored nearly 500 m (1,600 ft) in gneiss and mudstone. This is an opportunity for Robbins to prove that large diameter TBMs can bore in such tunnels, even in very complex geology and difficult ground conditions,” said Yunus Alpagut of ATES, Robbins’ Turkish subsidiary. Alpagut went on to explain why the project is so important: “Recently, there have been large diameter, non-Robbins machines that have failed at projects such as the high-speed railway in Bilecik, so this is very important to show the Turkish tunneling industry that large machines are up to the challenge.”

To get through the challenging conditions, the large diameter XRE has a number of unique features. The large diameter design enables both a screw conveyor and belt conveyor to remain in place, enabling swift conversion between modes, and operation in 100% EPB and hard rock modes.

In EPB mode, the screw conveyor operates as in any typical EPB machine. The screw features a replaceable inner liner and replaceable carbide wear bits for abrasion protection. A mixed ground cutterhead is fitted with knife bits that can be switched out with disc cutters in harder conditions. The machine design includes a man lock for cutterhead inspection and changes, and mixing bars inside the mixing chamber.

Esme Salihli XRE Cutterhead Rotates

The large diameter Robbins Crossover TBM has bored nearly 500 m (1,600 ft) in gneiss and mudstone as of May 2021.

To convert to hard rock mode, the mixing bars and initial portion of the screw conveyor can be optionally retracted. EPB knife bits are then replaced with disc cutters on the cutterhead, and the EPB scrapers on the cutterhead are replaced with bucket lips. Muck paddles are installed in the cutterhead to allow the muck to fall into the muck chute. A hydraulic muck ring allows a chute attached to the bulkhead to move forward and down at a diagonal angle, allowing rock chips to be deposited in the chute and through the screw conveyor onto the TBM belt conveyor. To keep up production rates in both modes, the Robbins Torque-Shift System is used: a two-speed gearbox that enables efficient tunneling in hard, mixed, or soft ground.

The Eşme-Salihli Railway Tunnel is part of the Ankara-İzmir High Speed Railway Project for the Turkish State Railways (TCDD). The 508 km (316 mi) line will eventually connect Polatlı in Ankara Province to Izmir, the third most populous city in Turkey, surpassing the Istanbul-Ankara High-Speed Railway as the longest rail line in the country once complete. The double-track railway system will convey passengers at top speeds of 250 km/h (160 mph), completing the journey between the two cities in 3.5 hours—a journey that would normally take 6.5 hours by car.


BTS 2021

Event Name: BTS Conference and Exhibition
Dates: September 30-October 1
Location: London, UK
Venue: QEII Conference Centre
Stand: B26

Register for the British Tunnelling Society’s upcoming conference and learn about the industry’s latest trends with 800+ other tunneling professionals. Debate and analyze the latest trends and topics in underground construction, and be sure to check out the lecture by Robbins President Lok Home. Stop by our stand B26 to talk about the latest Robbins products and projects with our team of international experts.

Robbins Lecture Description
Thursday September 30
Session 3 – Innovation in Action
2:00 – 2:20 PM

Non-Circular Tunnelling: A New Way Forward – Lok Home, Robbins President

When a flat roadbed is needed, is a circular TBM the best way to go? In this exclusive presentation, Robbins President Lok Home will discuss methods and equipment currently being used in the mining industry for flat inverts, and its increasing potential for use in civil tunneling. Home will look at case studies in both mining and civil tunneling industries to demonstrate that by using non-circular TBMs, a flat invert can be safely and economically created in one pass.


The Green Alternative: Small Hydro Machines for Clean Energy

When you’re faced with a hard rock tunnel on your next small hydro project, which tunneling method works best? Intake tunnels can be at diameters as small as 2 meters and at steep grades of up to 45 degrees.  Compared with the conventionally used method of Drill & Blast, small diameter tunneling machines offer increased production rates and reduction in cross section, among other benefits. The uniquely designed machines are engineered to take on steep gradients, and can bore tunnels kilometers long with minimal impacts to the surrounding environment.

In this complimentary, 60-minute webinar we discuss the use of small diameter tunneling machines on projects throughout Norway, where their popularity is increasing, as well as the method’s suitability on projects worldwide. Listen in on our conversation with Robbins Norway General Manager and Civil Engineer Sindre Log as we discuss recommendations for small hydro tunnels in hard rock.  Join us for a live Q&A session at the end to get a thorough answer from our expert speaker.

Watch the Recording


Most Momentous: 2021 Global Project Updates

From China’s largest Crossover TBM launch to an epic 13.77 m diameter XRE that began boring recently in Esme, Turkey, we’ve compiled the year’s most momentous events thus far. Read on to find out about Robbins machines embarking on tunnels large and larger.

Twin Crossover TBMs for Chongqing

Two 6.91 m (22.6 ft) diameter XRE machines are currently boring sections of the Chongqing Metro Phase 2 in ground conditions ranging from weathered mixed granite to weathered pegmatite and adamellite. The twin machines are the first of their kind in China, and are part of a trend towards more geologically challenging tunnels in China. To date, the machines have achieved up to 365 m (1,197 ft) advance in one month, with rates expected to ramp up as the machines progress.

Chongqing Metro Team

The team takes a moment to mark the assembly of one of two Robbins Crossover machines in Chongqing, China.

An Epic XRE Launch in Esme

In Esme, Turkey, a massive 13.77 m (45.2 ft) diameter Crossover XRE TBM began its bore for contractor Kolin Construction. Launched in late March 2021, the unique TBM is designed to tackle mixed ground conditions including sandstone, gravelstone, claystone and siltstone along the 3.05 km (1.9 mi) Esme-Salihli Railway Tunnel. The XRE can swiftly convert between hard rock mode using a belt conveyor and EPB mode using a screw conveyor, as both remain in place inside the machine.

Esme XRE TBM Launch

Launch of the 13.77 m diameter Robbins XRE TBM for Turkey’s Esme-Salihli Rail Tunnel.

Tunneling below Lake Ontario

A Robbins 7.95 m (26.1 ft) diameter Single Shield TBM launched recently on March 26th from an 85 m (280 ft) deep, 14 m (46 ft) diameter shaft. The machine, for the Ashbridges Bay Outfall with contractor Southland Holdings LLC in Toronto, ON, Canada has the task of boring a 3.5 km (2.2 mi) long tunnel below Lake Ontario. The completed tunnel will connect up to 50 in-lake risers to enable efficient dispersion of treated effluent over a wide area of the lake.

Asbridges TBM Launch

The Robbins Single Shield TBM for the Ashbridges Bay Outfall Tunnel launched on March 26, 2021. Photo: Alfredo Garrido

China’s Largest Crossover TBM

The largest ever Crossover (XRE) TBM in China launched in late March 2021 in Guangzhou for contractors Sichuan Jinshi Heavy Equipment Leasing Co., Ltd and CREC Bureau 2. Onsite First Time Assembly (OFTA) was utilized to build the 9.16 m (30 ft) diameter Robbins TBM, taking just four months from contract signing to machine launch. The hybrid machine is boring the 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long Pazhou Line Lot PZH-1 of the Pearl River Delta Intercity Railway Project, which will offer better commutes for Guangzhou residents traveling to and from University City.

Pearl River Delta TBM Assembly

The Robbins Crossover XRE TBM at the Pearl River Delta site was assembled using Onsite First Time Assembly in just four months from contract signing.


To Grout or Not to Grout?

When you’re faced with a hard rock tunnel where there are expected significant sections under high water pressure, which tunneling method do you choose?

While Slurry Shield tunneling has a long history of addressing this problem, this method has not always been problem free. Another highly effective method exists that can lower costs and risks: Non-continuous Pressurized (NCP) TBM Tunneling with a shielded machine.  When used in rock with a comprehensive grouting program or sequential advance in EPB mode, NCP TBMs have proven that they can successfully navigate high water pressures safely and effectively.

In this complimentary, 45 minute webinar we debate the pros and cons of Slurry and NCP TBMs, and look at case studies of both types of machines in hard rock under high water pressures.  Listen in on our conversation with Robbins President Lok Home and Brad Grothen P.E., Robbins Technical Director, as we discuss recommendations and the future of tunneling in rock under water pressure.

Watch the Video


China’s Largest Robbins Crossover TBM launches on Intercity Railway

Pearl River Delta Crossover Cutterhead

A crew member inspects the cutterhead of the Robbins Crossover XRE TBM during assembly in Guangzhou.

The largest ever Crossover (XRE) TBM in China launched in late March 2021 in Guangzhou for contractors Sichuan Jinshi Heavy Equipment Leasing Co., Ltd and CREC Bureau 2. Onsite First Time Assembly (OFTA) was utilized to build the 9.16 m (30 ft) diameter Robbins TBM, taking just five months from the start of assembly to machine launch. The hybrid machine is boring the 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long Pazhou Line Lot PZH-1 of the Pearl River Delta Intercity Railway Project, which will offer better commutes for Guangzhou residents traveling to and from University City.

The machine will encounter various ground types during its bore, from moderately to strongly weathered argillaceous shales and sandstone to mixed face conditions. Much of the rock is fractured, while the quartz content is as high as 50 percent. “Not only are there poor ground conditions such as soft to hard uneven, fractured zones and full-face hard rock, but these sections appear to alternate frequently, which is the biggest challenge of the project. It will be a test of performance and tunneling efficiency for the machine,” said Yongsheng Qi, Project Manager for Robbins China. The tunnel is also expected to cross under rivers and other bodies of water with a cover of 20 to 31 m (65 to 100 ft). The ground strata connects to the river and is highly permeable, resulting in expected water pressures above 7 bar. The project’s success lies in stabilizing the water pressure at the face while ensuring acceptable advance rates and construction safety.

Onsite First Time Assembly of the Crossover TBM

Onsite First Time Assembly (OFTA) of the Crossover XRE took just five months from start of assembly to launch.

The Crossover TBM features both hard rock and EPB modes and is optimized for the rapidly changing ground found on the project. An adaptable cutterhead design and two-speed gear reducers known as the Robbins Torque-Shift system enable efficient tunneling in hard, mixed, and soft ground.  An adaptable screw conveyor can be mounted in the center or bottom of the mixing chamber depending on the mode. To combat high water pressures the machine is fitted with high pressure seals and can statically hold up to 30 bar. The XRE TBM began its excavation in EPB mode and will shift to hard rock mode to continue excavation after 1.5 km (0.9 mi) has been bored.

The unique project is one of several mixed ground operations using Robbins Crossover TBMs in China. Two 6.91 m (22.6 ft) diameter XRE machines are currently boring sections of the Chongqing Metro Phase 2 in ground conditions ranging from weathered mixed granite to weathered pegmatite and adamellite. The project is under the same contractors as the Pearl River Delta bore.  “At the Chongqing Metro project, we won the trust of the contractor with the performance of the Crossover machines; to date the highest monthly advance rate in Chongqing is 365 m (1,197 ft). This is one of the main reasons the contractor again selected a Robbins Crossover TBM for the Pearl River Delta project,” observed Qi.

With rates at Chongqing Metro as a precedent, the Pearl River Delta tunnel is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021 and put into operation in 2023.


Robbins enters a New Chapter

Global TBM Company, newly established by industry veteran Lok Home, is proud to announce the recent purchase of substantially all the assets of The Robbins Company.  The company will operate as Robbins and with Mr. Home as the President and CEO. The acquisition will result in a seamless transition for a number of ongoing projects throughout the world, as Robbins renews its commitment to service, quality underground equipment, and top-notch support that its customers have come to expect. For a brief message from Lok Home, view the video here.

Home said the company has a bright future as a result of the transaction.  We are starting off the new year with a respectable backlog of orders,” he noted. “In 2021 and beyond, our clients can depend on Robbins to deliver high quality machines, and technically superior machines for very difficult projects,” said Home. “That’s where Robbins really stands out.”

Home went on to say that Robbins is starting 2021 with no significant bank or institutional debt. “We have many projects to look forward to,” he continued. “Robbins is currently delivering Crossover machines and TBMs equipped for challenging geological conditions in many countries including the U.S., Norway, India, China and Canada.” The company’s conveyor and small boring machine divisions will also continue to deliver equipment worldwide.

Home emphasized that Robbins has always been focused on building the best and strongest machines. He pledged that they will continue to do that. “We still have our strong engineering team and we plan to continue our many industry involvements including the International Tunneling Association (ITA) and its associate member organizations. We’re glad to be a part of this community and this industry,” Home added.

The company expects to continue with exciting new developments as well, including a soon-to-be-unveiled non-circular rock boring machine. Robbins remains focused on creativity and innovation to solve the industry’s greatest challenges.

About Robbins

Robbins is one of the world’s foremost developers and manufacturers of advanced, underground construction machinery. Headquartered in Solon, Ohio, USA, Robbins is a total supply firm offering customized Tunnel Boring Machines, conveyors, cutters, and more, as well as knowledgeable field service personnel and technical support. The company has been an active industry participant and innovator for nearly 70 years.

From the first modern Tunnel Boring Machine built in 1952 to recent innovations such as the Crossover TBM for varied ground conditions, Robbins engineering and innovations have made a success of the world’s most difficult tunneling projects.

 


MINExpo 2021

Event Name: MINExpo International
Dates: September 13-15
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Venue: Las Vegas Convention Center
Booth: 24729, South Hall 1

Come join us in Las Vegas, Nevada at MINExpo International, the largest mining show in the U.S., and found out more about our mechanized innovations for underground mining.  Stop by our booth 24729 to speak with our knowledgeable sales staff and learn more with our ten-minute booth talks that will be happening throughout the show.

Robbins Ten-Minute Talks
Presented inside the Robbins booth

September 13
11:45 AM – Get to First Ore Quicker: Rethinking Underground Mine Development

3:30 PM – Shaft Boring Machines that work in the Most Challenging Conditions


September 14
10:00 AM – Light, Mobile Tunnel Boring Machines for Underground Mining

1:30 PM – Non-Circular Tunnel Boring: A Case Study at Fresnillo Mine

 

September 15
10:00 AM – The Future is Mechanized Mining: Using Customized TBMs to Honeycomb Mine the Ore body

1:00 PM – Continuous Conveyors paired with TBMs for Underground Mine Development and Operation