True to its dedication to strive for innovation and sustainability, Normet has continued to develop and optimise its Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) technology portfolio with the introduction of its upgraded soil conditioning solutions, following the launch of its next-generation Tail Sealants range.
Tunnel boring projects simply would not be possible without TBM additives. Foams, polymers and other additives are injected into the tunnel face in order to modify the characteristics of soft ground, thereby making it easier to transport through the mucking system, as well as providing the required counter pressure to prevent uncontrolled material inflow.
Chemicals are also used on-site to increase TBM speed and reduce cutterhead torque and wear. With this in mind, the geological location and the type of soil present must be analysed to make an informed decision about what kind of TBM chemicals are required. Typically, a range of different soil conditioners will be recommended as the project develops.
Normet’s experienced R&D team have worked to enhance the current range of soil conditioning products to formulate a comprehensive portfolio of high-performing eco-friendly surfactants and polymers. The range aims to minimise TBM additives’ environmental impact (such as reducing toxicity and increasing biodegradation), encourage the use of renewable raw materials where possible, and ensure optimised efficiency to minimise material consumption.
Continual improvements can be seen across the entire TBM technology range to ensure tunnel boring excavations are as efficient and sustainable as can be. For instance, TamSeal TG91 and TamSeal TG92 have a lower density than their predecessors to allow wire brush chambers to be filled economically. With vigorous testing, the R&D teams have optimised washout characteristics, adhesion and compressibility.
Normet’s ongoing research and development, combined with technical support, ensures that customer’s get the most out of this technology. According to Normet’s TBM projects manager, Robin Swift: “On the R&D and the lab side of things, we have to make sure our products are efficient. If it’s the additive clay product, we have to make sure it’s efficient at dispersing multiple types of clay and improving workability, but we also understand that using the foam property on site really does have a big impact on water consumption. It’s all well and good having a really good product, but if they’re not using it as intended, they won’t optimise the performance and the versatility of the soil conditioning system.”
Improving on Normet’s already industry-leading offerings, the new TamSoil range even further reduces TBM cutterhead torque, cutterhead tool and screw wear, and improves muck flow characteristics. Not only do these improvements maximise efficiency even through difficult strata types and minimise production risks, it does so in a way that is cost-effective and supported by Normet’s global team of technical experts.