Tunnel boring machine cutter disc wear real time monitoring


Tunnel boring machine cutter disc wear real time monitoring

January 22


I’MNOVATION 2024 is here! Check out the open challenges and sign up.

February 29


Haven’t applied yet, run! The deadline for applications is February 29th.

May 17


The finalist startups will pitch to a committee that will decide the winner. This startup will develop a pilot in a real environment for 6 months with us.

December 11


Each team will present the results obtained to the decision committee that will evaluate the continuity and scaling of the program.

50 000 €
50 000 €

The TBM has emerged as the safest method of excavation in a context of technological advances in geotechnical engineering, improved working conditions inside tunnels and the use of ventilation systems, among other developments. One of the key components of the TBM are its cutters.

The cutters are subject to critical working conditions due to the effects of pressure, impact and abrasion of the ground, which means that they need to be replaced and repaired periodically, depending on the characteristics of the ground. In addition, the cutter wheel of a TBM is a hostile environment due to the presence of dust, water and its difficult access and maneuverability.

ACCIONA has broken several world records for TBM production and has helped to place this machine at the heart of tunnel engineering. The company uses some of the largest TBMs on the planet in its tunnel construction projects, up to 15 metres in diameter and around 100 metres long, which it adapts according to the terrain in which they operate. The performance of a TBM project is conditioned, among other factors, by the efficiency of its cutting tools, which determine the contact force against the ground through a combined process of thrust, torque and rotation. Therefore, the benefits of this monitoring system would be as follows:

  • Remote system with no need for cutter wheel actuation.
  • Identify problems before breakage. Improve cutter life.
  • Minimise cutter inspection.
  • Prevention of “cascade failures”.
  • Progress prediction, improving excavation performance and reducing project timescales.

ACCIONA launches this challenge to identify a solution that defines a complete monitoring system, both for the hardware components integrated in the TBM and the interpretation and visualisation software that allows the degree of wear of the TBM cutters to be predicted in real time. The solution should be able to identify the following aspects related to the cutter:

  • Cutter bearing blockages.
  • Cutter ring wear.Individual pressure of the cutter against the ground.
  • Vibrations induced to the cutter during excavation.
  • Wear prediction based on project geology.

Frequent questions

Yes. This Open Innovation Program is designed for the co-creation and co-development with startups, spinoffs and scaleups. Although we wouldn’t expect to work with mature companies, ACCIONA understands that developing a new product is hard and pivoting to find the Market-Fit needs from time and work, so we will analyse case by case.

Yes. As companies grow, they develop commercial agreements. Corporate open innovation programs are one of them, although ACCIONA wouldn’t accept to develop a project if the startup is working on a project with the same scope with a competitor.

At the beginning of the project, the ownership of the IP is from each part. Only after the ending of the project, ACCIONA and your company would negotiate over the results of the product or service developed if ACCIONA has had a relevant participation.

Usually, ACCIONA will publish that a pilot has been developed with your company at the end of the project. If you need to share some kind of information of the project, privately or publicly, please contact us.

No. Open Innovation program doesn’t take any equity. Only at the end of the project, ACCIONA would analyse if an investment has a fit in the company strategy and if the startup has an investment round open.

No. Sometimes startups captable is complex. We would accept that one of the founders signs if he/she has power of attorney.