Technical Team of Munich University Secures Second Tunnelling Win in Elon Musk’s Not-a-Boring-Competition

Technical Team of Munich University in Not-a-Boring-Competition

Tum Boring, the Germany-based tunnel innovation company formed by the Technical University of Munich, has been declared the winner of Elon Musk’s Not-a-Boring Competition, following live trials of concept TBMs in the US.

Tum company rivalled with teams from Swissloop Tunneling involving ETH Zurich, Switzerland; CU Hyperloop from the University of Colorado Boulder; The Diggeridoos from Virginia Tech and Warwick Boring formed by students from Warwick University in the UK.

Tum’s team excavated a 30m long, 500mm diameter tunnel with a radius, which was a more difficult task than that pitted against the teams when Tum previously won the contest in 2021.

Musk’s The Boring Company, which intends to revolutionize tunnel boring machines design, launched the first Not-a-Boring Competition in 2021 to push innovation and produce a tunnel-boring machine that could progress faster than a snail – more than 13mm/s.

Entrants to the 2023 competition were assessed on four criteria: the fastest tunnel completion, innovative design, build, and/or test, the most accurate tunnel and the tunnel with the tightest turn. Teams should have provided a route for the TBM ahead of digging and were evaluated on how accurately their completed tunnel matched their objective.

The necessity to mine a tunnel with a radius generated Tum’s 2021 winning design obsolete, so the winning machine was a completely new design with a bespoke control system and conveyor, which features design elements from a suction dredger.

Tum TBM Cutting Head

Tum asserted that its tunnel boring machine design is based on a balanced mix of industry standards principles such as pipejacking and multiple innovative techniques to solve inefficiencies and boost tunneling rates. As claimed, this method has several advantages, including fast tunneling feed rates and robust pipe segments with pre-installed driving surfaces as well as it uses many off-the-shelf components.

In the competition at The Boring Company headquarters in Bastrop, Texas Tum’s tunnel boring machine excavated the tunnel reaching a max speed of 7mm/second, which while a smaller diameter than a conventional machine, Tum argues is 14 times faster than its larger conventional cousins.

The Boring Company revealed Tum as the winner in a Tweet and complimented the team on the speed achieved but did not comment on the team’s performance against the other criteria.

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