Tunnel Digital Segment Tracking: Enhancing work through IoT and Automation

Our journey has always been intertwined with a strong penchant for leveraging technology. With a robust track record of enabling automation and integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into our operations, we’ve consistently sought to pioneer solutions that enhance our construction capabilities while ensuring the utmost safety and efficiency

Fast Facts

In a typical tunnel boring project, a ‘ring’ is what makes a tunnel – it ensures the tunnel’s structural integrity. We also measure a tunnel boring project’s progress through the numbers of rings installed. In our Sydney Metro West tunnel project, each ring consists of 6 segments.

A closer look at the tunnel segments before being installed

How Our Digital Segment Tracking Works

Media: Our DST system in action at Sydney Metro West – Western Tunnelling Package project

The Digital Segment Tracking (DST) System is an advanced tool built in-house by our tunnel research and development team that is affixed to our tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that automates the capture and logging of tunnel segment data, reducing manual work and enhancing accuracy.

Currently, the system is being used to track the progress of over 30,000 ring segments.

Previously, a tunnel engineer needed to manually record each tunnel segment going from the storage area to its final placement in the tunnel rings to ensure each segment is installed in its correct place. Now, with the power of IoT and automation, we have automated the process for better efficiency, accuracy, and safety of our engineers.

Here is the process after the deployment of our Segment Scanner:

  • First, a camera takes images of barcodes on the tunnel segments as the tunnel boring machine progresses.
  • After this data is captured, it is logged and sorted in a local database automatically.
  • Cloud Sync: Data from the local database is periodically uploaded to the cloud.
  • Monitoring: All operations can be overseen through “Tunnel Insight”, a proprietary software for tunnel data management and dashboard we’ve built in-house.

Why We Built Our Segment Tracking In-House

  • Automated Precision: The scanner autonomously ensures accurate and secure placement of tunnel segments, reducing the need for manual adjustments and interventions.
  • Minimized Risk: By automating precise placement and alignment checks, workers are less exposed to the potential risks associated with manual inspections and adjustments in proximity to the massive tunnel segments and moving parts of the A-TBM.
  • Reduced Manual Inspections: The scanner’s ability to autonomously verify segment placement and alignment minimizes the need for workers to be in potentially hazardous zones, thereby enhancing onsite safety.

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