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Underground Lunch and Learn: Modern vs. Conventional: Comparing TBM and Drill & Blast Methods

November 15, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


In the modern-day tunneling industry, one outdated perception remains: Traditional, tested methods are always the best. When presented with difficult ground—from fault zones to water inflows to mixed face conditions—many consultants and contractors rely on decades-old field studies and conclude that conventional excavation methods like drill and blast are the best option.  With today’s Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) technology, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern TBMs are highly adaptable and capable of offering all of the same ground support and excavation capabilities of their conventional counterparts—most often with a safer setup and faster performance, not to mention at a lower overall cost.

In this presentation, Robbins President Lok Home will analyze recent and ongoing tunneling projects in difficult ground conditions where TBMs have proven their worth, from Turkey to the U.S. and Peru.  At these projects TBMs have performed well in incredibly difficult conditions—from volcanic rock to more than a mile of cover–alongside drill and blast operations that proceeded more slowly or failed altogether. A critical analysis of the benefits and risks of each method will be examined with an eye towards case studies that provide real-world results.


November 15, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Berthoud Hall
1516 Illinois St.
Golden, CO 80401 United States


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