The Star Malaysia - StarBiz

MMC-Ga­muda’s tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine up for award

- Urbanism · Kuala Lumpur · Mass Rapid Transit · Singapore MRT · London · Switzerland · Variable Density Tunnel · Martin Herrenknecht

KUALA LUMPUR: The Vari­able Den­sity Tun­nel Bor­ing Ma­chine (VD TBM), used in the un­der­ground works of the Klang Val­ley Mass Rapid Tran­sit (Sun­gai Bu­loh-Ka­jang Line), has been short­listed for this year’s Tech­ni­cal In­no­va­tion of the Year award held un­der the aus­pices of the London-based New Civil En­gi­neer and the Switzer­land-based In­ter­na­tional Tun­nelling and Un­der­ground Space As­so­ci­a­tion.

The an­nual In­ter­na­tional Tun­nelling & Un­der­ground Space Awards recog­nises ex­cel­lence in the de­liv­ery of in­ter­na­tional tun­nelling and un­der­ground space projects.

Jointly de­signed and de­vel­oped by MMC-Ga­muda and Her­renknecht AG en­gi­neers, the VD TBM was short­listed for sig­nif­i­cantly im­prov­ing safety in tun­nelling op­er­a­tions through the highly vari­able and chal­leng­ing karstic lime­stone ground con­di­tions in Kuala Lumpur, while sig­nif­i­cantly re­duc­ing in­ci­dences of sink­holes.

“With the tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion of the VD TBM, we have suc­cess­fully com­pleted the tun­nelling works for the ex­tremely chal­leng­ing karstic lime­stone sec­tion of the SBK Line since July this year, mea­sur­ing a to­tal tun­nelled length of 7.5km – with only two mi­nor sink­hole in­ci­dents.

“Com­par­a­tively, this is a 95% re­duc­tion from the more than 41 sink­holes that oc­curred when we tun­nelled a dis­tance of 9km un­der the same karstic lime­stone ter­rain for the Stormwa­ter Man­age­ment and Road Tun­nel (Smart) project back in 2003,” said MMC Ga­muda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd Con­struc­tion gen­eral man­ager Ubull Din Om.

“On a per km ba­sis, this equates to 4.5 sink­holes per km for Smart ver­sus only 0.3 sink­holes per km for SBK Line.

“It is a ma­jor im­prove­ment by any stan­dard,” said Ubull, adding that there has been almost zero im­pact on ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties lo­cated along the tun­nel align­ment dur­ing the tun­nelling process.

Seen as a break­through in tun­nelling tech­nol­ogy, the VD TBM used in the SBK Line pro­duces “vary­ing den­sity” slurry when tun­nelling in un­pre­dictable ground con­di­tions – an in­no­va­tion that is known to be the first of its kind in the world.

Lever­ag­ing from the Smart Tun­nel ex­pe­ri­ence, VD TBM is a new class of tun­nelling ma­chine that can safely bore through in­ter-con­nected un­der­ground cav­i­ties in karstic lime­stone for­ma­tion with min­i­mal or zero risk of caus­ing ground sub­si­dence.

With this tun­nelling ad­vance­ment, karstic lime­stone will no longer be a bar­rier to build­ing un­der­ground spa­ces in a highly ur­banised en­vi­ron­ment like Kuala Lumpur.

For the tun­nelling in­dus­try world­wide, VD TBM has opened up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for new tun­nelling projects around the world, where tun­nelling was pre­vi­ously thought not pos­si­ble due to chal­leng­ing ge­o­log­i­cal con­di­tions.

Her­renknecht AG founder and chair­man Dr Martin Her­renknecht ex­pressed con­fi­dence in VD TBM bag­ging the in­no­va­tion award.

“It (the VD TBM) is a ‘real tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion’ since the Earth Pres­sure Bal­ance TBM was in­tro­duced 30 years ago. The world has to wake up to this (tech­no­log­i­cal break­through),” said Her­renknecht.

Sep­a­rately, MMC-Ga­muda pre­sented a pa­per on the VD TBM’s tech­no­log­i­cal break­through and the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of karstic lime­stone tun­nelling in Kuala Lumpur at The Bri­tish Tun­nelling So­ci­ety Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion 2014 in London on Sept 23.

The win­ners of the In­ter­na­tional Tun­nelling & Un­der­ground Space Awards 2014 will be an­nounced on Dec 4 in London.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia