Maximize your TBM’s Advance Rate

Tunnel boring production is often limited by the speed of muck removal and the supply of critical construction material to the TBM. The backup system, or trailing equipment, is as important as the machine itself. That’s why The Robbins Company pays as much attention to the engineering of the backup as it does to the TBM.

From simple, short gantry systems to sophisticated, remote-controlled double-track systems, Robbins matches the backup system to the construction method and type of TBM. Robbins will help you decide which proven system is best for your job. Robbins offers tracked systems using muck trains or conveyors as well as trackless systems using conveyors or rubber-tired vehicles.

Single-Track Backup Systems

A single-track backup system has the advantage of being short, simple to operate and simple to maintain. If your tunnel is small in diameter, short in length, or the equipment assembly area is restricted, a single-track backup is often the best solution. Similarly, single-track systems are frequently used if the TBM must start from the bottom of a shaft. Depending on your construction schedule and requirements, single-track systems can be used with continuous conveyors or with muck trains.

Double-Track Backup Systems

When using muck cars in large-diameter tunnels, double-track backup systems ensure maximum production. By installing a California switch behind the backup, empty muck cars can be kept near the loading point while others are being filled. This minimizes delays between trains and optimizes advance rates.

Rubber Tired Vehicle Backup Systems

Rubber tired vehicle backup systems allow muck to be removed by conveyor or truck. This permits roadbed construction to be carried out simultaneously with tunnel excavation. As a result of this flexibility, they are often used in large diameter tunnels for rail, road, and hydroelectric projects.

Backup Mounted Equipment


  • Dust scrubbers (wet or dry) with fans and silencers
  • Fresh-air flexible ventilation duct cassettes
  • Fresh air booster fans

Water & Compressed Air:

  • Backup mounted compressors
  • Compressed air distribution system
  • Industrial fresh water distribution system
  • Cooling water recirculation systems
  • Compressed air and/or water hose reels

Ground Support:

  • Shotcreting equipment, decks and robots
  • Variable cutterhead speed
  • Concrete segment transport and storage
  • Back-filling systems for concrete segment lining
  • Drill Systems for pattern bolting


  • High voltage cable reels
  • Emergency generators
  • Emergency lighting