HS2 has revealed plans to launch the Krokodyl robot to work on the project’s first two giant tunnelling machines next year.
The use of the robot will improve safety and efficiency when assisting 2,000-tonne Tunnel Boring Machines by removing the need for people to work in the potentially hazardous area. With the recent news that the construction of HS2 will create up to 22,000 jobs, it's great to hear that the safety of workers is being prioritised on the project with this announcement. The Krokodyl will carry out repetitive tasks such as inserting connection dowels and removing wooden spacers between tunnel segments, in a similar manner to the robotic arms used in a car factory production line.
The TBM moves forward when the tunnel segments are erected by the robot, forming a structural watertight ring, designed to support the ground loads. Another feature of the robot is the ‘Dobydo’ which places the dowels into position ready to be slotted into place.
The two TBM’s will be launched from a site close to the M25 and will be named; Florence and Cecilia respectively.
The development of the Krokodyl is an Align joint venture – a team made up of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick. Align’s underground construction director, Didier Jacques spoke about the safety of the project:
“A lot of work has been undertaken by all concerned that has enabled us to develop and introduce this robot, thereby reducing the risk to our personnel, operating on our state of the art TBM’s. We are very proud of these innovations which we would be happy to share with tunnelling teams working on other projects across the world, to help reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries”
HS2’s head of tunnelling, Eddie Woods added:
“Safety is a key priority for HS2 and the introduction of these innovations that essentially remove personnel from harm’s way, is an excellent example of the sort of initiatives we are pleased to see implemented on the project. It is one of the ways that safe at heart can be achieved by minimising exposure in high risk locations”