The first of two telescopic shield TBMs to excavate the 18km heart of the 35.2km-long Koralm tunnel in Austria is delivered by Aker Wirth.
The two machines, each with a diameter of 9.93m and a cutterhead driven by electric motors with an overall power rating of 4,800kW and a maximum cutting torque of 30,000kNm, are due to begin excavation for Strabag of the main KAT2 construction lot at the end of this year (2012).
Factory approval ceremony for the first TBM
First of two Aker Wirth TBMs for Koralm tunnel drives
"With this project, we can draw on more than 40 years of experience in hard rock tunnelling," said Hans Greve, Vice President Mining and Construction at Aker Wirth. "With our experienced employees and our customer's skilled personnel, we are confident that we will successfully meet the challenges regarding underground assembly."
Access to the underground construction site is a particular challenge: the TBMs will operate through a 60m deep shaft as the only access to the construction work, and through which the main components of the machine will be transported and assembled.
Design engineers for the ÖBB Austrian Railway project is a joint venture of Geoconsult, Bernard Ingenieure, Basler&Hoffmann, Lombardi, Ingenieurbüro Maidl and Werner Consult.
Both TBMs are equipped with hard rock cutters manufactured by Aker Wirth. The combination of these cutting tools and Aker Wirth's cutterhead design ensures an optimal balance between durability and drilling performance. Behind the shields, the trailing backup system for each is designed and added to the TBM manufacture by Rowa Tunnelling Logistics AG of Switzerland.
The 35.2km Koralm tunnel is a vital part of trans-Austrian and inter-European rail services
"With the factory approval for the first TBM, we have reached a significant milestone for this tunnel construction project," said Robert Goliasch, Machine Engineer at ARGE Koralm tunnel KAT2. "We were able to be present during assembly at the factory, to contribute to the installation, and consequently become familiar with the new TBM. We hope this knowledge will help speed up the underground installation and commissioning process. First performance tests have demonstrated Aker Wirth's reputation as a manufacturer of high quality hard rock TBMs."
The Koralm tunnel is an integral part of a new high-speed rail route between Graz and Klagenfurt that is being constructed for Austrian railway operator ÖBB. Once complete the 130km link, which is part of the Baltic-Adriatic Axis from Eastern Europe to Northern Italy via Austria will reduce travel times by half. The tunnel features parallel single-track tunnel tubes and when complete will be one of the longest traffic tunnels in the world.
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