HS2 Ltd. has presented a robot developed to raise efficiency and safety during the ring-build process aboard two massive TBMs that are going to excavate the 16km (10mi) Chiltern tunnels.
The robot was generated by Align JV (including Sir Robert McAlpine, Volker Fitzpatrick, and Bouygues Travaux Publics), the main works contractor, working in conjunction with Herrenknecht, the TBM-builder. Shortly, the machine will become part of both TBMs excavating the high-speed rail tunnels.
The advanced and novel ‘Krokodyl’, similar in action to car-factory robots, can perform potentially hazardous works which till now have been done by humans: it can clear the wooden spacers between the stacked concrete segments and inserts the connection dowels.
As HS2 Ltd. announced, the robot is the first of its kind all over the world. Its actions will ease the installation of the 112,000 tunnel segments needed – each usually weighing 8 tonnes – and clears the workforce from a potentially dangerous task. Second feature of the robot– the Dobydo – is to install the connection dowels just prior to the placement of the segments. Moreover, this helps decreasing the risk to operatives, raising efficiency and safety.
“Safety is a key priority for HS2 and the introduction of these innovations that essentially remove personnel from harm’s way is an excellent example of the sort of initiatives we are pleased to see implemented on the project. It is one of the ways that ‘safe at heart’ can be achieved by minimizing exposure in high risk locations,” Stated HS2 Ltd. Head of Tunneling, Eddie Woods.