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Boomer E2C used in refurbishment of the Neuchâtel tunnel

A specially adapted Epiroc Boomer E2C, has been used to automate the installation of an AT – Pipe Umbrella System from DSI Underground as part of a refurbishment of the Neuchâtel – La Chaux-de-fonds railway tunnel, in the west of Switzerland.

The CFF SA railway tunnel to the west of Neuchâtel is 680m long with a cross section of approximately 50m². There are also fourteen rescue niches along the length of the tunnel. Infra Tunnel SA were appointed to manage the tunnel refurbishment project which started in March 2021 is on track to finish in September 2021.

"From the start of this refurbishment project the advantages of using the Epiroc Boomer E2C to automate the installation of DSI Underground’s AT – Pipe Umbrella System with pipe squeezed connection were clear. Plus we have worked closely with Epiroc for over 30 years, so we know we have a reliable partner at our side."

Steven Le Doaré , Site manager from Infra Tunnel SA

A successful collaboration: Epiroc Boomer E2C with AT – Pipe Umbrella System from DSI Underground

The specially adapted Epiroc Boomer E2C at the mouth of the Neuchâtel – La Chaux-de-fonds railway tunnel.

The specially adapted Epiroc Boomer E2C at the mouth of the Neuchâtel – La Chaux-de-fonds railway tunnel.

An AT – Pipe Umbrella System from DSI Underground was selected for the project, to improve the safety and stability of the ground in the path of the tunnel as it passes through Jura limestone and marl.

"Having previously used the AT – Pipe Umbrella System with pipe squeezed connection on a project in France, I found it to be safer, faster, and easier to install than the equivalent conventional threaded system."

Daniel Solheid , Directeur de Projet for Infra Tunnel SA
Pipe Umbrella System’s squeezed connection to join each 3 meter long pipe enables the installation of the pipe umbrella to be automated.

Pipe Umbrella System’s squeezed connection to join each 3 meter long pipe enables the installation of the pipe umbrella to be automated.

Using a squeezed connection (rather than a conventional threaded connection) to join each 3 meter long pipe enables the installation of the pipe umbrella to be automated. The Epiroc Service Centre in Switzerland adapted an Epiroc Boomer E2C drill rig to accommodate a squeezing unit on the drilling arm. Automating the installation of the pipe umbrella with mechanized feeding speeds up the installation and also improves the safety of the staff involved as manual pipe connection is completely eliminated so the risk of injury is significantly reduced. 

"To make the umbrella we have to install around 4,000 meters of pipes, which each have a diameter of 139.7 mm. Using the Boomer to connect the individual lengths of pipe has made the process significantly quicker. Pipe squeezing is simply faster than screwing the individual 3 meter pipes together. Automating the installation of the pipes in this way has also made the process safer for our staff as they have less manual handling of the pipes and do not work near the moving parts of the drill rig."

Mr. Le Doaré , Site manager from Infra Tunnel SA

Good team effort

A specially adapted Epiroc Boomer E2C, has been used to automate the installation of an AT – Pipe Umbrella System from DSI Underground

A specially adapted Epiroc Boomer E2C, has been used to automate the installation of an AT – Pipe Umbrella System from DSI Underground

Infra Tunnel SA specializes in the building and refurbishment of tunnels and underground infrastructure. “We have worked in partnership with Epiroc (and the preceding Atlas Copco mining and construction equipment) for over 30 years. We chose them as our partner to work on this project because of their machine’s quality, after-sales service, proximity to the worksite and our confidence in the staff involved.” summarises Mr Le Doaré.

 

Epiroc staff have also worked in partnership with the team from Sterobit AG, the DSI Underground partner in Switzerland, and together they have supported Infra Tunnel SA throughout the project - from the adaptation of the Boomer, initial commissioning, and staff training, through to providing service support.

2022 Local Switzerland Press release Boomer