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Rescuing and Rebuilding TBMs in Adverse Ground Conditions

Modern TBMs deliver high performance with availability rates that are beyond 90%. The TBM design concepts make the machines highly versatile for employment in varying soil and ground conditions. Machines can now withstand extreme loads and impacts in rough underground environments because of the components made for longtime use. Regular maintenance and planned service is the vital element in prolonging a machine’s life and for high performance and availability. A well-serviced machine provides excellent performance as well as active project safety. Proper operation in variable conditions is also key. For instance, a hard rock TBM may run into zones of swelling rock. The most appropriate method to overcoming the swelling rock is to keep going, avoiding any unnecessary stops. Worn disc cutters that have not been maintained in due course are a prominent example of such avoidable stops, which may result in long downtimes and severe damage to the machine. However with modern and advanced techniques to underground tunneling, rescuing and rebuilding TBMs is possible to save the project. This paper discusses methods and tools for modern TBM service and maintenance using present case studies about TBM rebuilds in extreme project conditions.


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