Microtunneling is defined as a remotely-controlled, guided, pipe-jacking operation that provides continuous support to the excavation face by applying mechanical or fluid pressure to balance groundwater and earth pressures.
- Microtunneling requires jacking and reception shafts at the opposite ends of each drive.
- A microtunnel boring machine (MTBM) is pushed into the earth by hydraulic jacks mounted and aligned in the jacking shaft.
- The jacks are then retracted and the slurry lines and control cables are disconnected.
- A product pipe or casing is lowered into the shaft and inserted between the jacking frame and the MTBM or previously jacked pipe.
- Slurry lines and power and control cable connections are made, and the pipe and MTBM are advanced another drive stroke.
- This process is repeated until the MTBM reaches the reception shaft.
- Upon drive completion, the MTBM and trailing equipment are retrieved and all equipment removed from the pipeline.
- Precise control of line and grade is accomplished using the guidance system and steering jacks to locate and steer the MTBM during a microtunneling drive.
Benefits of Microtunnelling
• No dewatering of entire line required when working below the water table, dewatering only required in boring and receival pits.
• Accurate to line and grade
• Environmentally friendly
• Reduces risk to the safety of workers and the public
• Allows access to areas that aren't accessible via open cut trenching such as under railway lines, buildings, waterways, highways, trees and vegetation
• Reduces reinstatement costs particularly when large depths are required
• Minimises traffic interruptions
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