Twelve new shotcreting machines are supplied to Taiwan by Putzmeister to work on major upgrade of one of the most dangerous, yet most spectacular, highways in the world.
Suhua Highway, spectacular and dangerous
One of 12 SPM 500 WETKRET units in action
Clinging to the steep mountainsides of the north east coast of Taiwan, the narrow winding Suhua Highway is a blackspot for serious traffic accidents and suffers frequent landslides caused by the weak geology and heavy rain and typhoons of the island's tropical rainy season. To improve safety and security and boost tourism in this outstanding area of Taiwan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is building 38.4km of tunnels and bridges to replace the three most dangerous sectors of the highway. Work started on the project in 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2018.
Fig 1. Key tunnel upgrade elements
Geological investigation compares data from 275 borehole drillings completed during the past 30 years and a further 27 recent drillings to make sure the soil and water conditions are adequate to support the construction. Kung Sing Engineering Corp, one of the largest construction companies in Taiwan and based in Taipei, was engaged to complete the Suhua Highway Improvement Project.
Putzmeister Underground was commissioned by Kung Sing to provide 12 SPM 500 WETKRET concrete spraying systems for structural support in the headings of the Kuan-yin tunnel in section B2 of the project, and for the Ku-feng tunnel of section B3 (Fig 1). The equipment was supplied through Putzmeister's Taipei-based distributor, Antung Group, which also provides spare parts and after-sales service.
The two tunnels have an overall length of approximately 13km, each being 7.94km and 4.66km. The corresponding cost for the tunnels is NT$9.208 billion and NT$7.2 billion respectively.
The tunnels are designed as drill+blast NATM operations on a top heading and bench sequence. Excavation is to advance from both portals of each and progress on two 12hr shifts/day.
"We are proud that our equipment meets the requirements of Kung Sing Engineering Group for concrete spraying operations in the tunnelling works," said Max Eckstein, International Sales Manager of the Putzmeister Underground Division.
The SPM 500 WETKRET series has been used in a large number of tunnelling projects worldwide. With a vertical reach of 17m and a spraying capacity of 30m3/hr, the machine is suitable for both medium and large tunnel sections, galleries and slopes.
SPM 500 WETKRET unit ready for work
Handywork of the SPM 500 machine
Table 1. SPM 500 WEKTRET technical data
Telescopic spraying arm
Max vertical reach
Max horizontal reach
Double piston, hydraulically-driven
Concrete output (theoretical)
Max 30m3/hr, variable
30 - 700litres/hr, synchronised with concrete
Max working pressure
"Putzmeister has been designing, developing and producing concrete spraying equipment for more than 30 years," said Eckstein. "The main components - chassis, concrete pump, spraying arm and control software - are designed, developed and produced in-house in order to offer perfectly synchronised equipment to meet customer requirements and the rough working conditions in tunnelling and mining."
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