Germany-based tunnel innovation firm TUM Boring, formed by the Technical University of Munich won The Boring Company’s Not-a-Boring-Competition for the second time following live trials of concept tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in the United States.
TUM competed against teams from Swissloop Tunneling formed by ETH Zurich, Switzerland; CU Hyperloop from University of Colorado Boulder; The Diggeridoos from Virginia Tech and Warwick Boring formed by students from Warwick University in the UK.
New Civil Engineer reported that TUM’s team bored a 30 m long, 500 mm diameter tunnel to win the 2023 competition. The team previously won the competition in 2021.
The Boring Company launched the first Not-a-Boring Competition in 2021 to drive innovation and produce a tunnel boring machine (TBM) that could move faster than a snail – more than 13 mm/s.
Entrants to the 2023 competition were evaluated on four criteria the fastest tunnel completion, innovative design, build, and/or test, the most accurate tunnel and the tunnel with the tightest turn. Teams had to provide a route for the TBM ahead of boring and were scored on how accurately their completed tunnel matched their plan.
The need to bore a tunnel with a radius rendered Tum’s 2021 winning design obsolete so the winning TBM was a completely new design with a bespoke control system and conveyor which features design elements from a suction dredger.
In the competition at The Boring Company headquarters in Bastrop, Texas Tum’s TBM bored the tunnel reaching a maximum speed of 7 mm/second, which while a smaller diameter than conventional TBM, TUM says is 14 percent faster than its larger conventional cousins.
The Boring Company announced TUM as the winner in a Tweet and commended the team on the speed achieved but did not comment on the team’s performance against the other criteria.
Photo: The TBM that TUM entered into the 2021 Not-a-Boring competition