The objective is to develop tools in order to automate the maintenance of the TBM cutter head. The end product is a robust robotic maintenance system that enables in particular the automation of routine tasks, like the inspection and exchange of drag bits and disc cutters. This will improve the productivity of the TBM (by reducing idle time related to maintenance) and reduce the health risk to operators (by largely eliminating the need for human presence in a pressurised environment). In addition to the fully automated operation for routine tasks, operators will be able to perform complex inspection and maintenance operations through remote control of the system. An advanced human-machine interface will be developed for this purpose, including haptic feedback and virtual immersion.

Overall the system:

• Eliminates 80% of the human interventions in the cutter head, i.e. reduces the number of related worker accidents by a factor of 5;
• Allows a much more efficient, less expensive and safer operation of the TBM.
Knipsel 2