The aim of this one-day training session was to give young engineers an introduction to issues surrounding mechanized tunnelling in soft soil, whilst providing up-to-date information and concrete examples through case studies. This session, which gathered more than 170 attendees, followed on from the annual AATES congress and took place at the Techint Training and Convention centre in Buenos Aires. The session was organized by AATES (Associación Argentina de Túneles y Espacios Sunterráneos) in collaboration with the ITACET Foundation.
Three expert ITA lecturers were invited to give presentations: Mrs Karin Bäppler, Mr Piergiorgio Grasso and Mr Lars Babendererde.
After the opening speech given by Messrs. Oscar Vardé and Martin Böfer, respectively Chairman and Secretary General of AATES (pictured left), the morning was devoted to the basic concepts of mechanized tunnelling. After an introduction to the main tunnelling methods and their respective fields of application, the session took a look at the main advantages and disadvantages of mechanized tunnelling, the necessary geotechnical investigations prior to choosing the choice of method, face support and ground improvement techniques, along with issues surrounding segmental lining and backfilling.
The afternoon was devoted to operation and logistic aspects of mechanized tunnelling. The different cutting tools and cutter head designs were briefly presented, followed by a presentation on TBM chamber access and compressed air work. Issues surrounding tunnel and site logistics and risk management and safety during the works were also dealt with.
Case studies presented to the participants notably focused on multi-mode TBMs, with a presentation given by Mr Terbovic (Robbins) on the use of earth pressure balance and crossover TBMs in difficult ground.
The session rounded off with a question and answer session, enabling lively interaction between the lecturers and the attendees.