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Tough TBM breaks through after navigating Faults, Karst, and More

In January 2020, a Robbins 5.97 m (19.6 ft) diameter Main Beam TBM cleared its final hurdle when it broke through in Guangxi Province, China.  The TBM excavated its first of two tunnels, an 11.9 km (7.4 mi) long conduit for Lot 1 of the North Line Water Irrigation Project, Letan Water Reservoir, Drought-Relief. The tunnel was marked by a gauntlet of challenges, from karst cavities to fault zones and water inflows. The workers on the jobsite, contractor Guangdong No. 2 Hydropower Bureau Co., Ltd., and the owner, Construction Management Bureau for the Letan Water Reservoir, had much to celebrate after completion of what is widely regarded as the most complex and longest tunnel on the North Line project.

Boring with the Robbins Main Beam TBM and continuous conveyor system began in summer 2015. “There was no precedent in this province for using a Main Beam TBM to excavate a tunnel longer than 10 km. We didn’t have relevant local experience to use for reference,” explained Yongjiu Jin, Deputy Manager of the Project for contractor Guangdong No. 2 Hydropower Bureau Co., Ltd. The machine did encounter a number of difficult geological obstacles as it bored through limestone rock, but was still able to achieve advance rates up to 40 m (130 ft) per day in good ground.

Much of the geology consisted of lightly weathered limestone in rock class II to III, with some sections in class IV to V rock that required the heaviest amount of ground support, ranging from rock bolts to ring beams and mesh. “Our team encountered a coal seam, gasses in the tunnel, two large water inrushes, three fault zones up to 103 m long, 11 karst cavities, and more.  In order to solve the ground problems, there were more than 160 special technical research meetings held,” said Yongjiu.

Throughout tunneling, the contractor expressed thanks for Robbins Field Service staff. “Robbins personnel provided good technical support from equipment installation and commissioning through to tunnel completion. After the equipment was handed over to our company, they still helped us with equipment usage on our project, which makes us very satisfied with the Robbins after-sales service.  Robbins really delivered: the after-sales phase was not the end of service, but the beginning of site service,” said Yongjiu.

While the completion of the first tunnel—the longest single-heading construction on record for water tunnels in Guangxi—is a milestone, there is more to do. The Robbins machine will be inspected and relaunched to bore a second tunnel 4.2 km (2.6 mi) in length.  The ground conditions are predicted to be equally challenging, but the tunneling operation has some help from ground prediction methodology. Tunnel Reflection Tomography (TRT)—consisting of ground prediction using seismic waves—is being used to detect changing conditions ahead of the TBM.  The method can predict the distribution and scale of joints and fissures, allowing the crew to plan ahead.

Located near Laibin City, the North Line project provides much needed drought relief using a network of tunnels totaling 29.4 km (18.3 mi). “This tunnel will realize the dream of drought control that people in Central Guangxi have had for many years. The breakthrough is the most important milestone event in this first phase of the North Line project,” said Yongjiu.


Robbins unveils Largest Hard Rock TBM in the U.S. at Mill Creek

In December 2019, the City of Dallas, Texas, USA unveiled the largest hard rock TBM ever to bore in the U.S. The 11.6 m (38.1 ft) diameter Robbins Main Beam TBM will excavate the 8 km (5 mi) Mill Creek Drainage Relief tunnel, and its size is not its only distinction. The adaptable machine will change size partway through the bore, to a more compact 9.9 m (32.5 ft).

The unique Robbins TBM will be used to dig a tunnel designed to provide 100-year flood protection for east and southeast Dallas, areas affected in recent years by severe storms. The tunnel will protect 2,200 commercial and residential properties, including Baylor Medical Center. The current drainage system in these areas was constructed 50 to 70 years ago, and only provides two to five years of flood protection. “The completion of the TBM assembly marks a major milestone in the Mill Creek Tunnel Project,” said Council Member Lee Kleinman, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for the City of Dallas. “I’m thrilled to see this type of engineering marvel happening right here in Dallas.”

The dual-diameter aspect of the Robbins TBM will be a first-of-its-kind conversion process. The contractor, Southland/Mole Joint Venture (SMJV), will make the conversion underground about 2.8 km (1.8 mi) into the bore. The two diameters are needed as the upstream section of the tunnel is designed with a circular cross section and peak flow rate of 42 m3/sec (15,000 ft3/sec), while the downstream 2.8 km (1.8 mi) portion has a higher peak flow of 565 m3/sec (20,000 ft3/sec) and was initially designed as a horseshoe cross section. Using the TBM for the entire tunnel is less time consuming and costly. “Robbins and SMJV are working closely to create the safest and most efficient sequence for completing this conversion within the limits of the bore. The City of Dallas (Owner) and our Project Team are very excited to embark on this unique challenge,” said Nick Jencopale, Project Manager for Southland Holdings.

The Robbins TBM, named “Big Tex” with permission of the State Fair of Texas, has been designed with a specialized cutterhead including removable spacers and adjustable bucket lips to convert to a smaller diameter. The TBM will first complete its 11.6 m (38.1 ft) diameter section of the alignment, then back up about 21 m (75 ft) to a transition area for the conversion, which is expected to take six to eight weeks.

As the TBM bores, it will pass through Austin Chalk between 12 to 30 MPa (1,800 to 4,400 at depths from 31 to 46 m (100 to 150 ft) below the city.  The route is potentially gassy, so probe drilling is mandatory throughout the project. Crews will utilize ground support including eight 3.9 m (13 ft) long rock bolts every 1.5m (5 ft) with wire mesh and channel straps as needed. The finished tunnel will be lined with a 380 mm (15 in) thick cast-in-place concrete lining.

“Big Tex will work 24 hours a day to excavate the tunnel with crews ranging in size depending on activities,” said Rachel Sackett, marketing and communications director for Southland Holdings. Based on previous work through similar geology, the project team expects TBM excavation to progress rapidly to an average of 25m (80 ft) per day, allowing the project to be completed on schedule in 2023.


Two Robbins Crossover TBMs to Bore Second Severomuysky Tunnel

In 1979, a 4.56 m diameter Robbins Double Shield TBM was delivered to bore the Severomuysky Service Tunnel, a 15.3 km long railway through the remote mountains of Siberia. Now, 40 years after the original machine was delivered, Robbins is returning to the role. Two 10.37 m diameter Crossover (XRE) TBMs will bore the second Severomuysky Tunnel, clocking in at 15.5 km long and running through mixed ground and fault zones. The new rail line is needed due to limitations on carrying capacity on the current Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) railway through the area. Currently 16 million tonnes of cargo are carried through the existing Severomuysky tunnel but the Russian Government wants to increase cargo carrying capacity by more than six times in the region.

The largest global anthracite producer, Sibanthracite Group, is taking on the tunnel construction with management by VostokCoal Management Company. The companies, owned by Dmitry Bosov, aim to increase coal transport by up to 100 million tonnes per year through the addition of the second tunnel. “Robbins has established itself on the market as the best manufacturer of hard rock machines, which are able to provide the maximum penetration rate in hard rock. This is one of the determining factors in connection with the tight deadlines for the implementation of our project. Also, Robbins is the only manufacturer to build the Crossover TBM,” said a representative of Sibanthracite Group. Other aspects of the supply include a continuous conveyor for muck removal, rolling stock, spare parts, and cutting tools.

Sibanthracite Group chose Crossover technology for a number of reasons, geology being chief among them. “A Crossover type tunnel boring machine was selected for tunneling due to the fact that the construction of the tunnel will be carried out in difficult heterogeneous geological conditions (from unstable waterlogged soils to hard rock). The Crossover is able to operate in two modes: Open mode, used while boring in hard rock formations, and closed mode (with earth pressure balance), used when boring in unstable water-logged soils,” said the Sibanthracite representative.

The lessons learned during the first Severomuysky tunnel—the importance of probe drilling, consolidation grouting, and preventing a shielded machine from becoming stuck in fault zones or squeezing ground—are all part of the Crossover TBM solution. “I was a young engineer working at Robbins when the Double Shield TBM was delivered for the first tunnel, so it is a special honor to bring this new technology to the second Severomuysky Tunnel in Siberia,” said Robbins President Lok Home. “Per the contract Robbins is supplying Crossover TBMs for the new parallel rail tunnel—these machines are made to bore in highly variable ground conditions while maintaining good advance rates. With our latest technology we hope to again prove TBMs are the better choice over Drill and Blast when difficult ground conditions are to be encountered.”

The machines will be designed for varying water pressures, ranging from 5 to 20 bar. They will feature Water Inflow Control, a system that seals off the face and periphery and creates a safe working environment in which to dewater and consolidate ground. The machines will feature probe drill ports and capabilities for 360-degree probe drilling and grouting ahead of the excavation face, while the Robbins Torque-Shift System will enable the machines to bore through collapsing ground and other situations that demand high torque. The machines will also be designed with a belt conveyor in hard rock mode that can be switched out with a screw conveyor when crossing into soft ground.

Crews will bore through the Severomuysky Ridge, a mountain range in Buryatia and part of the Stanovoy Highlands, which separates the basins of the Upper Angara and Muya Rivers. “The second Severomuysky tunnel is located in one of the most geologically active areas of our planet—on the north-eastern flank of the Baikal rift zone. The region is characterized by high seismic activity, difficult geological and hydrogeological conditions against the backdrop of a harsh climate (the summer period lasts only 80-100 days, temperatures from + 39°C in summer to -58°C in winter). The construction work on the portals is complicated by the presence of permafrost as well,” said the Sibanthracite representative. Construction of the new tunnel is expected to begin in 2020 and take five years.


Compact TBM bores longest Rock Tunnel at 2.46 m Diameter

In August 2019, a small diameter Double Shield TBM made a big impact. The 2.46 m (8.07 ft) diameter Robbins machine completed 3,475 m (11,400 ft) of boring with no intermediate access, making it the longest rock tunnel ever bored by a Double Shield TBM under 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in diameter.

The machine completed the Parmer Lane Wastewater Interceptor in Austin, Texas, USA for contractor S.J. Louis Construction. Despite obstacles including two tight curves of 150 m (500 ft) radius and unexpected ground conditions that required modification of the cutterhead in the tunnel, advance rates were good. The machine reached up to 380 m (1,250 ft) per month while mining in single 12-hour shifts per day. “It was a hard rock TBM, and it performed better than expected through hard rock,” said Zach West, Project Manager for S.J. Louis.

The challenges for the TBM and its crew were varied, explained West. “The pairing of this tunnel length, which is on the longer side, and the diameter, which is on the smaller side, is challenging.  The survey in a small tunnel with tight radius curves and limited surface access for over two miles is very difficult.” He added that the shallow tunnel depth, and the alignment to within a few feet of sanitary lines, high-pressure gas mains, and fuel tanks for gas stations, made TBM guidance critical.  “I would say that I am most proud of our ability to guide the machine successfully through these obstacles and into our retrieval shaft within our expected tolerances.”

Through one stretch, the tunnel advanced directly between a 30 cm (12 in) diameter, high-pressure gas main and fuel tanks for a gas station with limited as-built information.  “Navigating this section took a great deal of coordination with the local utility companies.  Because the tunnel diameter was too small for an automated guidance system, we manually surveyed the front of the machine at every push to ensure the machine was on track,” said West.

“I’m proud that they mined the longest tunnel to date for a small shielded gripper machine of this size without any safety issues.  Kudos to their management philosophy and jobsite team,” said Tom Fuerst, Robbins Utility Tunneling Sales Manager. Robbins assisted the crew while in the tight 150 m (500 ft) curves and helped with modifications required to the cutterhead and disc cutter arrangement.

The tunnel is located in an environmentally sensitive aquifer, with ground conditions ranging from soft dolomite with clay to limestone from 13 to 68 MPa (2,000 to 10,000 psi) UCS.   “While we tunneled through the softer material, our best advance rate was close to 0.9 m (3 ft) per hour.  When we tunneled through the expected limestone, advance rates were over 5.2 m (17 ft) per hour.  Our best day was 25 m (81 ft) in a single shift,” said West.

The majority of the tunnel used a simple two-rock-bolt pattern for support.  In the last 10% of the tunnel, ribs and lagging were used as support. Final carrier pipe, which is now being installed, consists of 110 cm (42 in) diameter fiberglass pipe.

The successful project is part of a larger trend towards small diameter, TBM-driven rock tunnels in the United States, says Fuerst. “It is primarily due to demographics and business growth.  The parts of the USA that are growing need to build out their sewer and water infrastructure. TBMs can mine long distances with tight curves.  They can reduce the need for multiple shafts, which lowers the overall project cost.  And, given that most small diameter pipelines follow a road or municipal right-of-way, traffic problems are reduced significantly compared with open cut operations.”

The Parmer Lane Wastewater Interceptor connects to two existing lift stations at Lake Creek and Rattan Creek.  The tunnel allows for these lift stations to be decommissioned, and will provide additional flow capacity by gravity, reducing operating costs for the City of Austin.


Major Milestone for Delaware Aqueduct Repair as Robbins Single Shield Completes Excavation

Adapted from the official press release of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP).

On Tuesday August 13, The New York City Department of Environmental Protection completed excavation of the Delaware Aqueduct Bypass Tunnel, a significant milestone in the USD $1 billion effort to repair leaks in the longest tunnel in the world. The moment happened at 6:51 a.m. when a tunnel boring machine broke through a wall of shale bedrock nearly 700 feet (210 m) beneath the Town of Wappinger in Dutchess County, New York, USA. Excavation of the tunnel was completed on budget and ahead of schedule.

“I want to congratulate the engineers, project managers and local laborers who steered us toward this milestone with considerable skill and precision,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. Holing through is a major achievement for any tunneling project, especially one as large and complex as our repair of the Delaware Aqueduct. The moment is also a reminder that much work remains to be done as we move steadily toward completing this project in 2023 and ensuring the long-term reliability of the water supply system that sustains 9.6 million New Yorkers every day.”

The Delaware Aqueduct Bypass Tunnel is the largest repair project in the 177-year history of New York City’s water supply system. Its centerpiece is a 2.5-mile-long bypass tunnel that DEP is building 600 feet (180 m) under the Hudson River from Newburgh to Wappinger. When the project is finished in 2023, the bypass tunnel will be connected to structurally sound portions of the existing Delaware Aqueduct on either side of the Hudson River to convey water around a leaking section of the tunnel. The 85 mile (138 km) long Delaware Aqueduct, the longest tunnel in the world, typically conveys about half of New York City’s drinking water each day from reservoirs in the Catskills.

A massive Single Shield tunnel boring machine, manufactured by The Robbins Company in Solon, Ohio, USA, began to excavate the tunnel on Jan. 8, 2018. The tunneling machine mined 12,448 feet (3,794 m) during the 582 days that it pushed eastward from its starting point nearly 900 feet (270 m) below the surface in the Town of Newburgh in Orange County. According to data tracked by DEP, the machine excavated 89.8 linear feet (27.4 m) on its most productive day, 354.8 feet (108.1 m) during its best week, and 945 feet (288 m) during its most productive month. The tunnel boring machine excavated through three bedrock formations, starting with the Normanskill shale formation on the west side of the Hudson River, the Wappinger Group limestone formation, and finishing in the Mt. Merino shale formation on the east side of the river. The location and condition of these bedrock formations was well documented by New York City when it originally built the Delaware Aqueduct in the 1930s and 1940s. Engineers used that historical information to design the tunnel boring machine for the bypass tunnel and plan for its excavation.

As the tunnel boring machine forged ahead, it also lined the shale and limestone bedrock with precast rings of concrete. A total of 2,488 concrete rings were installed by the machine. Now that mining is finished, DEP will begin to install 16 foot (5 m) diameter steel liners inside the first layer of concrete. After the 230 steel liners are installed and welded together, they will be coated with a second layer of concrete. This “triple-pass” design will provide the bypass tunnel with structural stability and prevent leaks from occurring again in the future. During the excavation, the tunnel boring machine was driven, maintained and supported by dozens of local laborers who worked 24-hours, six days a week. They operated cranes, trucks and underground trains to collect the pulverized rock and haul it to the surface. They removed and replaced cutting discs on the front of the machine, and maintained the many complex systems that kept the tunnel boring machine functioning properly.

The Delaware Aqueduct Bypass Tunnel is the first tunnel built under the Hudson River since 1957, when the south tube of the Lincoln Tunnel was finished.

Background on the Delaware Aqueduct repair project

DEP has monitored two leaking sections of the Delaware Aqueduct – one in Newburgh, and the other in the Ulster County town of Wawarsing – since the early 1990s. The leaks release an estimated 20 million gallons (76 million liters) per day, about 95 percent of that escaping the tunnel through the leak near the Hudson River in Newburgh. DEP has continuously tested and monitored the leaks since 1992. The size of the cracks in the aqueduct and the rate of leakage have remained constant over that time.

In 2010, the City announced a plan to repair the aqueduct by building a bypass tunnel around the leaking section in Newburgh, and also by grouting closed the smaller leaks in Wawarsing. The project began in 2013 with the excavation of two vertical shafts in Newburgh and Wappinger to gain access to the subsurface. These shafts, 845 and 675 feet (258 and 206 m) deep respectively, were completed in 2017. Workers then built a large underground chamber at the bottom of the Newburgh shaft. That chamber has served as the staging area for assembly and operation of the tunnel boring machine, and as the location from which excavated rock is brought to the surface by underground trains and a large crane.

The existing Delaware Aqueduct will stay in service while the bypass tunnel is under construction. Once the bypass tunnel is nearly complete and water supply augmentation and conservation measures are in place, the existing tunnel will be taken out of service and excavation will begin to connect the bypass tunnel to structurally sound portions of the existing aqueduct. While the Delaware Aqueduct is shut down, work crews will also enter the aqueduct in Wawarsing to seal the small leaks there, roughly 35 miles (56 km) northwest of the bypass tunnel.

The project will mark the first time that the Delaware Aqueduct will be drained since 1958. In 2013, DEP installed new pumps inside a shaft at the lowest point of the Delaware Aqueduct to dewater the existing tunnel before it is connected to the new bypass tunnel. Those pumps will be tested several times before the tunnel is drained in 2022. The nine pumps are capable of removing a maximum of 80 million gallons (302 million liters) of water a day from the tunnel—more than quadruple the capacity of the pumps they replaced from the 1940s. The largest of the pumps are three vertical turbine pumps that each measure 23 feet (7 m) tall and weigh 9 US tons (8 metric tons).

Background on the tunnel boring machine “Nora”

The Delaware Aqueduct Bypass Tunnel was excavated by one of the world’s most advanced tunnel boring machines (TBM). The Robbins Single Shield TBM – which measures more than 470 feet (140 m) long and weighs upwards of 2.7 million pounds (1.2 million kg) – was named in honor of Nora Stanton Blatch Deforest Barney, a noted suffragist and the first woman in the United States to earn a college degree in civil engineering. Nora, who worked for the City’s as a draftsperson during the construction of Ashokan Reservoir, was also the first female member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The USD $30 million TBM arrived at the site in Newburgh in 2017. It was delivered in 22 pieces and took four months to assemble. The 21.6-foot (6.58 m) diameter TBM was built to withstand more than 30 bar of pressure. The machine needed to withstand high pressure because workers encountered huge inflows of water under immense pressure when the aqueduct was first built more than 70 years ago. The TBM was equipped with pumping equipment to remove up to 2,500 gallons (9,400 liters) of water per minute away from the tunnel as the machine pushed forward. The TBM was also outfitted with equipment to install and grout the concrete lining of the tunnel, and to convey pulverized rock to a system of railroad cars that followed the TBM as it worked. The railroad cars regularly traveled back and forth between the TBM and the bottom of Shaft 5B in Newburgh, delivering workers, equipment and rock between the two locations.

 


罗宾斯盾构机最后标段贯通顺利结束62公里墨西哥TEO污水隧道的施工

2019年5月23日,举行了一场庆祝活动:6台直径为8.93米的土压平衡盾构机中的最后一台在墨西哥城的伊米苏. 奥连特隧道(Emisor Oriente,简称TEO)的第4标段完成了挖掘工作,这一壮举标志着历时10年、长62.1公里的隧道施工顺利竣工。“我们为成功完成挖掘工作感到自豪,尽管我们经历了各种困难,例如大量的涌水、液压负荷和不断变化的地质。我们通过对没段地质类型进行调整挖掘模式来解决这些问题,”第4标段包承包商Carso Infrastructura y Construcción(Carso)的机械经理Hector Arturo Carrillo说。

尽管碰到了诸多挑战,但设备掘进速度依然达到日掘进30米和月进尺528米的项目记录。对于这个作业表现Carrillo说,这与用于清除渣土的连续输送系统有很大关系:“应该注意的是,我们的掘进速度归功于优秀的罗宾斯输送机设计。隧道输送机由增压器、垂直带、曲线托辊、推进尾件等部件以及地面部件组成。就我个人而言,我认为这是一个优秀的、令人信赖的系统,帮助我们实现了掘进机的优异的进尺。”

这一项目的贯通是土压平衡盾构机在应急污水项目中所遇到的一些最困难地质问题,最新和最重大的里程碑。10.2公里长的4号标段,从17号竖井延伸至13号竖井,深度达85米,地质包括玄武岩段,中间夹杂着高水压的渗透性砂。“我们的机器必须攻克最恶劣的地质条件,但它们是为挑战这些困难而设计的,”负责第3、4和5号标段三台罗宾斯土压平衡盾构机和连续输送机系统的罗宾斯墨西哥总经理Roberto Gonzalez Ramirez说

所有的机器都是设计可承受4到6巴的水压,配备了复合地质背装式刀盘以应对各种地质条件。根据地质情况,高压碳化钨刀具可与直径17英寸的碳化钨滚刀互换。其他设计包括人仓和物料仓可承受高达7巴的压力,重新设计的铲斗,和用于加固螺旋输送机的悍达耐磨板以及可拆卸的耐磨板,以进一步加强每个螺旋输送机运作。旋转活动接头经过重新设计,以提高在刀盘干预期间的换刀时间,而新的刮刀设计给予刀盘在岩石复合地质条件下提供更大的抗冲击性。

第4标段的掘进机在17号始发井内组装,并于2012年8月投入使用,龙门架和所有的后配套支架位于地面。2012年10月,在设备推进150米后,机器及其后配套系统在隧道内完成了组装。一个月后,连续输送系统也完成安装并启动运行。

在挖掘了405米之后,岩石、刮刀、搅拌杆的一部分和其他磨损材料,促使施工队进行刀盘检查。在高达3.5巴的压力下,项目决定需要进行高压干预。在2013年6月2日,施工队通过隧道中的盾构机进行了第一次高压干预。然而,这些干预措施费用很高,并且证明是耗时的。在大约50次高压干预后,项目的其余部分干预都是大气模式下进行的。 “在大气模式下进行的干预是最大的挑战。因为我们在倾斜隧道上开挖,大量涌入水量测试了到达极限。在所有这些干预措施中,我们必须在盾构机和输送机轴上实施双泵系统,“Carrillo说。尽管每次操作都存在挑战,如抽水量高达每秒180升以及清除隧道中的砂石,但大气模式下干预的成本仍然低于高压下的干预,并且速度更快。

尽管条件很恶劣,Carrillo认为罗宾斯的现场服务都给予整个施工作业很好的支持:“罗宾斯一直为我们提供方案,从不吝啬用他们所有的经验为我们解决问题。举一个最近的例子,在本项目即将结束时,设备的盾体遇到了阻碍,无法前进。必需增加液压系统的压力,把28台推力油缸的压力范围提升到596巴的范围。罗宾斯的现场技术人员都全程和我们一起,帮助我们一起冲破这个障碍。”


罗宾斯掘进机在尼泊尔提前一年贯通

2019年4月,罗宾斯双护盾隧道掘进机成功挑战喜马拉雅山公认的困难地质条件,总体项目计划提前约一年和隧道掘进计划提前七个月贯通。尼泊尔的第一台隧道掘进机,直径5.06米,在两个不同的情况下,月进尺超过1,000米。 该机器完成了尼泊尔政府灌溉部(DOI)和承包商中国海外工程集团有限公司尼泊尔分公司(COVEC NEPAL)的12.2公里的巴瑞巴贝引水多用途项目(BBDMP)。

尼泊尔总理毕马沙尔马·奥利(KP Sharma Oli)在仪式上发表了演讲,他称赞了该项目及这个项目对尼泊尔未来TBM项目成功的影响。“这不仅是新技术进入尼泊尔,而且是一个巨大的收获。政府还计划实施各种其他多用途项目,如萨科希马林引水工程( Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Project)。

施工商的施工进度十分喜人,这台机器仅用17个月就完成了隧道建设,比内政部要求在2020年3月28日完成隧道建设的最后期限提前了近一年。“突破性的仪式很棒。中国海外工程集团有限公司尼泊尔分公司项目经理胡天然说:“我们为我们终于做到了这一点而感到骄傲,而且我们的总体进度比原计划提前了近一年。”

可行性研究表明隧道的钻爆开挖法可能需要12年的时间,但作为国家“国家骄傲项目”之一的BBDMP项目需要加快完成。灌溉部需要一个更快的选项,他们在隧道工法中找到了全断面隧道掘进机。他们开始与当地罗宾斯的代表商量将把尼泊尔有史以来的第一台隧道掘进机引进入该国。内政部花费了七年,通过国际竞争性招标获得项目资金和选择了承包商。从2007年到2015年,项目正式启动。罗宾斯驻尼泊尔的代表Prajwal Man Shrestha说:“我们很荣幸成功地引进了掘进机技术。尽管过程有障碍和阻力,我们最终还是引进了这项技术,打破了尼泊尔所有的隧道施工记录。该国已受到国际关注,来自世界各地的施工商和开发商目前正在考虑尼泊尔未来的TBM项目。”

隧道位于喜马拉雅山脉南部西瓦利克山脉,地质主要由砂岩、泥岩和砾岩组成。“采用掘进机法代替传统的钻爆法是该项目成功的关键因素。它为尼泊尔未来水、能源、运输项目中大量类似隧道的实施树立了良好的榜样。我认为,在尼泊尔应用掘进机技术有着很好的前景,”胡天然继续说道。

为了确保最佳的掘进机性能并防止停机,机器维护每天都在固定的时间进行。地质工程师每天分析两次地质情况,以便在需要时调整隧道参数。精心部署的开挖施工奏效了:经验丰富的施工团队穿越了一个位于隧道5.8公里处危险的巴瑞断裂带,并通过5天内修建了一条旁通道脱困了一次卡机。为了应对这种情况,罗宾斯的掘进机设计配备了困难的地质解决方案(DGS),一套功能包括增强版超前钻探和前驱能力,以及一个阶梯式机器盾体和流畅的刀盘设计,以避免卡在坍塌的地面上。

项目经理胡天然表示,机器快速挖掘的秘密在于良好的规划:“由于承包商和设备供应商在初步阶段共同进行了深入的研究和详细设计,因此掘进机与项目的各种条件相匹配。结合罗宾斯公司在硬岩施工方面的优势,我们在该项目上取得了卓越的掘进机性能。”

BBDMP一旦竣工投入使用,将在尼泊尔南部地区灌溉5.1万公顷土地,并提供48兆瓦的年发电量。它将使用一个15米高的大坝,每秒将42立方米的水从巴瑞河引到150米头下的巴贝河,为周围的Banke和Bardia地区提供全年灌溉。预计尼泊尔卢比每年的灌溉效益为29亿美元,水力发电效益为43亿美元,一旦项目启动,总收益为72亿尼泊尔卢比(约6400万美元)。


主梁式在法国格勒瑞德嘉鲁完成艰难的法国隧道

2019年4月3日,罗宾斯一台直径3.5米的主梁式掘进机贯通后进入洞穴,完成了2.8公里长的引水隧道。这不是机器第一次遇到洞穴:在隧道掘进过程中,设备两次碰到了未知的洞穴,其中最大的洞穴大小达到惊人的8000立方米。

“克服障碍取得最近的贯通是一个重大的成就,” Marc Dhiersat说,他是承包商埃法日土建施工公司格勒瑞德嘉鲁隧道(Galerie des Janots)的项目总监。“我们很荣幸带领一支积极、认真的团队到达隧道尽头,尽管遇到了许多技术难题,但他们做的很好,没有发生事故。”

引水隧道位于法国卡西斯社区的下方,是一个以地下水,岩溶洞和空洞而闻名的石灰岩地区。设备于2017年3月始发,在含有石灰石与粉状粘土相结合地质下进行挖掘。在1,035米处,我们的工作人员在掘进机的左侧碰到了一个洞穴。洞穴中镶嵌着钟乳石和石笋,被掘进机的盾体磨破。工作人员不得不建一个4米高的混凝土墙,以便掘进机有东西可以顶住。然后再次启动掘进机,并且能够在八次冲程中成功导航出洞穴,并且期间没有停机 – 该过程耗时约两周。尽管存在这些挑战,但Dhiersat在整个考验中都对掘进机给予了积极的评价:“能应对这些所有的地质困难,这是最出色的设备。”

第一个洞穴虽然最大,但并不是遇到的最困难的空洞。在清理第一个洞穴后,机器平均每天向前推进20至22米,并有一个专门的夜班进行维护。在挖掘过程中,结合超前钻机和地质土梁调查(一种使用电致极化来检测掘进机前方异样的调查)。工作人员每周进行五天的挖掘,一个月内完成400米以上。这表现一直持续到2157米处,当时机器又磨破了一个延伸到隧道通道深处的另一个未知洞穴的顶部。该洞穴长22米,宽15米,深14米,约4500立方米。

工作人员在刀盘前探测并开始用泡沫和混凝土稳定和固定洞穴,并挖掘旁路隧道。 “在填充了大部分洞穴(1,500 平方米)后,我们最大的困难是确保支撑住机器:我们需要六个旁路隧道和四个月的工期完成这一挑战,” Dhiersat说。对于最后600米的隧道,“我们终于处于良好的岩石地质,”他强调说。该项目的总体平均日掘进为18米,两班制,并最高日掘进达到25米。

“和Marc及他的团队在现场的合作非常好,我们始终享受他们对项目和任务的专业精神和承诺。毫无疑问,这是我们取得成功的关键,“罗宾斯欧洲业务经理Detlef Jordan说道。 “对于我们来说,通过共同努力、通力合作,可以实现最佳和最成功的结果,这是令人满意和鼓舞的。几十年来,这一承诺一直是隧道行业成功的核心,但在最近的其他项目中并不总是如此。“

格勒瑞德嘉鲁隧道是14个旨在节约水资源和保护资源的工程之一,这系列工程由艾克斯 – 马赛 – 普罗旺斯大都会,罗纳地中海科西嘉水务局和州政府执行。格勒瑞德嘉鲁隧道开通后,将取代目前位于铁路隧道中的现有管道 – 这些原始管道存在严重缺陷,导致每年估计水损失量为500,000立方米。新隧道将容量增加到每秒440升。


罗宾斯盾构机和输送机完成复杂的TEO第五标段

2019年2月28日举行了一场仪式,以庆祝在软土和硬岩历经考验的设备的贯通。直径为8.93米的罗宾斯盾构机和连续输送机系统完成了复杂的伊米苏. 奥连特隧道(Emisor Oriente,简称TEO)中最困难的一段隧道,这条长达62公里的长管道将为2120万的墨西哥城居民改造废水处理。

6公里长的第五标段是TEO隧道的六个地段中的一个,需要罗宾斯设备从墨西哥最深的土建工程井始发,深150米,挖掘含磨蚀性玄武岩岩石的混合面地质。 “我很自豪能够成功完成隧道挖掘,因为这是这个项目埋深最深的部分,” José Adolfo Méndez Colorado,承包商Ingenieros Civiles Asociados(ICA)的工地主管说。 “罗宾斯现场服务为这个项目的成功贯通做出了重要贡献。机器操作至关重要:现场服务人员知道如何准确操作设备以获得很好的表现。他们发现问题的速度帮助减少停机时间。”

地面条件的复杂性,Méndez继续说道,需要正确的聚合物浓度和选择,这本身就是一个很大的挑战。现场服务协助了我们解决其他问题以及设备相关的操作:“螺旋输送机在混合地质下输送渣土以及铰接系统存在一些问题,这些问题通过现场服务经验得以克服。他们还知道连续输送系统的正确操作,这使我们的作业能够达到预期的表现。”

罗宾斯墨西哥公司总经理Roberto Gonzalez说:“我们为这台机器在两个截然不同的世界中的运行感到骄傲。”2011年,最初为第五标段设计的机器被提前开挖了3.9公里长的第1B标段,这是该线路的一个关键部分,需要立即投入运行,以防止长期季节性洪水。“盾构机采用输送机系统在墨西哥城粘性粘土作业中证明了自己的能力,黏土含水率非常高,高达400%。”该机器在一个月内实现了掘进高达592.5米的速度,被认为是该项目中使用的六台盾构机(其中三台为罗宾斯)中的一项最高纪录。在15个月内完成掘进后,机器被送到第五标段现场,在那里针对一段混合和岩石地质进行了改良。

改良包括一个能够承受7巴的高压工作仓、添加到螺旋输送机的碳化铬耐磨板、以及添加到刀盘上的灰色杆和重型切削刀具。

该机器在始发井底部长28米组装仓内组装,并于2014年8月投入使用,要求所有的后配套龙门架保持在地面上。两个月后的2014年10月,在推进了150米后,机器及其后配套龙门架完全组装在隧道中。一个月后,连续输送系统安装并运行。“第五标段盾构机的装配记录是墨西哥掘进机最深的装配纪录。装配工作需要ICA工程师、大容量起重机和人力资源的高度配合,以保持10周的装配进度完成,” Gonzalez说。

随着第五标段的隧道工程正式结束,在TEO线路完工之前还有一个贯通:在第四标段作业的直径8.93米罗宾斯盾构机也计划于今年春天破土动工。第三台在第三标段作业的罗宾斯盾构机在2018年已完成了隧道建设。

TEO隧道是墨西哥城100多年来因湖床排水和地下水位普遍下降而下沉的解决方案。当时,墨西哥城的建筑物、主要街道和其他建筑已经下沉超过12米,而且该地区的大部分地区很容易受到洪水的影响。与此同时,该地区的重力供水污水管道已经失去了坡度,严重不足。

隧道施工一旦竣工,TEO隧道将扩大向墨西哥谷系统增加150立方米/秒的输水量,并减轻关键区域的洪水风险。它还将把废水输送到墨西哥最大的污水处理厂。这条巨大的隧道包括24个竖井,深度从23米到150米,有通向希达尔戈州阿托尼科市的污水处理厂的出口。


罗宾斯跨模式完成土耳其最长的输水隧道

2018年12月18日,土耳其有史以来最长的引水隧道工程竣工了,这条隧道就是长31.6公里的格雷德(Gerede)引水隧道。为了贯通这条隧道,负责开挖隧道的罗宾斯直径5.56米跨模式掘进机(XRE-兼并硬岩和土压平衡作业模式)和施工商Kolin-Limak合资公司的施工队伍,克服了几十个主要断层带和高达26巴水压的高难度地质条件。这条贯通的国家首级供水线将于2019年3月投入使用。

由于土耳其首都安卡拉长期严重干旱,格雷德引水隧道成为一个迫在眉睫的引水隧道工程。格雷德引水隧道的最后一段是一条长9.0公里、地质极其困难的隧道段。地质由砂岩附聚物、石灰岩和凝灰岩组成。这条9公里的隧道段被广泛认为是土耳其隧道施工中最具挑战性的隧道。“自20世纪80年代以来,我有机会学习和参观土耳其的大部分机械化隧道工程。格雷德引水项目是其中最具挑战性的项目之一。”伊斯坦布尔技术大学矿山与隧道机械化教授、土耳其隧道学会主席Nuh Bilgin博士说。

在罗宾斯公司参与这个项目之前,其他的掘进机制造商提供了三台标准双护盾硬岩掘进机试图攻克隧道,但其中两台在遇到大量淤泥、碎岩和涌水后被困在隧道里无法挽救,隧道处于停滞状态。鉴于意外的困难地质条件,施工商Kolin-Limak合资公司制定新战略,联系了罗宾斯公司。罗宾斯提议采用跨模式(XRE)掘进机开挖这段困难的隧道段。 “跨模式掘进机在整个项目施工中,为应对经常变化的地质条件提供了极大地便利性和灵活性。掘进机同时配备了增加推力、双速减速箱和标准螺旋输送机等功能。让我们贯通隧道实现目标最重要的关键点是,设备能够应对在不同地质条件下的开挖作业。” Kolin-Limak合资公司项目经理Barış Duman说道。

罗宾斯土耳其代表处负责人Yunus Alpagut说:“对我们来说,最具挑战性的是设计和制造出可以完成格雷德隧道这段困难隧道段开挖工作的掘进机,而其他两个竞争对手的掘进机也失败了。” 20巴的静态水压,这是标准双护盾掘进机不具备的应急保护性能 。掘进机设计采用可转换刀盘,便于在硬岩和土压平衡掘进模式之间进行转换,并且刀座可以安装滚刀或盾构碳化钨刀具。为了应对困难的地质,这台掘进机还配备扭矩切换系统,双速减速器使设备能够在土压平衡或硬岩模式下灵活作业。这个功能通过添加一级减速器来实现——重型小齿轮和大齿轮可在低速作业时提供高扭矩,使机器能够顺利穿过断层地带和复合软土地段,不会被困。

2016年春季,施工人员在其中一台被困双护盾掘进机的一侧开挖了一条旁路隧道后,这台跨模式掘进机就在这个地下装配室进行组装。这个地下装配室让设备可以在隧道内采用现场首次安装调试方案(OFTA)来实现组装。“把设备部件运送到既有隧道里是最具挑战性的。装配室距隧道入口7公里。159加仑/秒的涌水让物料运送到设备变得十分困难。”罗宾斯现场服务经理Glen Maynard说。

尽管面临挑战,但设备仍然在2016年的夏天顺利始发掘进,并且在最初的50米掘进就成功穿越了原来被困双护盾掘进机的隧道段。设备需要采用土压平衡模式作业,来应对水压高达26巴和含有冲积层、流动土层、粘土的地质,共48个断层带;通过尾盾预留的超前钻孔排出地下水来降低水压,钻孔配有常闭球阀;定期采用超前钻探进行探测地质,以便顺利通过困难地质。

“我们遇到许多具有挑战性的区域,如高达26巴的高压突涌水和含有冲积物的断层带。地压力作用在盾体导致盾体在粘土地质中受到挤压变形。在这些困难区域,我们能够通过将掘进机的掘进速度、刀盘转速和螺旋输送机转速保持在理想水平来实现快速开挖。最后,我们认为我们选择跨模式掘进机的决定是非常正确的。” Duman 继续说道。 

随着隧道的贯通,这条供水隧道也将于2019年3月投入使用。这条格雷德隧道将会把从格雷德河的水引入卡里德瑞大坝(Çamlıdere Dam),为安卡拉市的供水系统提供饮用水。