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Concurrent Segment Lining and TBM Design: A Coordinated Approach for Tunneling Success

The success of a tunnel project relies on many factors, but one of the most important is also the most overlooked: coordination by all parties involved during the design stages. This is particularly true of segment design and TBM design. Tunnel lining with segmental rings is usually designed according to the standards of reinforced concrete construction based on a given GBR. However, for TBM tunneling, the determination of loads during ring erection, advance of the TBM, earth pressure, and bedding of the articulated ring are all part of the tunnel lining design as well. TBM design can be heavily affected by the segment arrangement, dimension, and weight, but these are usually given as a fixed input to the TBM manufacturer—a process that can cause unnecessary complications.

The authors propose that the industry evaluate the process as it stands. In order to find the optimum balance between lining design and TBM cost and operational workflow, both designs should be finalized concurrently. This requires coordination between the TBM manufacturer and segment designer from the early stages. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the influence of the segment lining design on TBM cost and performance, and to provide commentary on existing design guidelines to optimize lining and TBM procurement.


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