In October 2016, Tunnel Euralpin Lyon Turin (TELT) officially launched the project to put ‘Federica’ to work – a tunnel boring machine (TBM) used as part of the project to connect Lyon in France and Turin in Italy by railway via the Alps. The 11m diameter TBM was made by French company, NFM with the goal to dig a 9km tunnel in order to validate the geological landscape. However, this was only part one of the project. The second part of the project intends for Federica to dig for approximately 100km.
In 2017, the TBM, equipped with a steel shield to fracture the rock, was not performing to the required standards – the shields were wearing at a rapid rate, losing almost all thickness after only 1.2km. This meant that NFM needed to find a solution quickly, to be able to dig the remaining 7.8km without stopping.
M. SZYDLOWSKI, from the TELT technical team, chose INTEGRA to fix the problem.
The WA Integra team asked for rock samples from the tunnel to “theoretically” compare the lifetime of our solution to the lifetime of the original shield. Thanks to the comparison test results, the WA team was able to provide a solution tailored to the customer’s needs.
The 10mm wear plates fabricated by WA are 13 times more durable compared to the initial shielding. As the TBM continued to operate between the observation of wear and the delivery of our plates, there was only 7km left for the machine to dig.
The INTEGRA team oversaw the installation of the wear plates on the TBM head and checked in on the machine twice during digging.