At first glance tunnelling appears straightforward – start at one end and proceed to the other. But that is an oversimplification of an operation that involves many participants and demands shared communications. Tunnelling includes the tunnel bore machines, but also the data. This includes statistical information, documents, warning and monitoring systems, geotechnical sensor data, laser scanning, maps, drawings and several other pieces of information.
Systems like IRIS can be used to describe geological variables, progress rates, cutter wear, target performance and so on. Tunnel Boring Australia is another example of an integrated system that combines several segments of information. “Aker Wirth has developed a new tunnel boring system, combining the flexibility of a roadheader operation with the robustness of a tunnel boring machine. Using the undercutting technology at the core of the concept, the Mobile Tunnel Miner (MTM) is capable of meeting the challenges to improve safety and speed of tunnel construction in underground mining.”
Several manufacturers are now integrating tunnel management data into cloud services that enable partners to participate through web services, often using wireless field data connections for transferring data and communication during the process.