Project: Enhanced Monitoring and Simulation Assisted Tunnelling

In the project EMSAT, a world-unique monitoring- and simulation based system for the continuous process control in mechanised tunnelling with Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) will be developed. This system will produce simulation-based prognoses that are based on live-recorded monitoring data. It will consist of computer software and hardware components capable of, automatically, acquiring the monitoring data and producing the prognoses continuously and online during TBM excavation. In this way, the new system will fundamentally improve TBM tunnelling safety and efficiency._x000D__x000D_Technically, the EMSAT system will be established by developing and linking three sub-systems, a tunnel information system (developed by GEODATA), a disc cutter monitoring system (developed by SE-MUL) and a TBM tunnelling simulation system (developed by RUB-ISM). EMSAT and its sub-systems will be characterised by the following attributes: _x000D__x000D_1. The tunnel information system EMSAT-inf of GEODATA will consist of hard- and software components that serve for managing (input, output, storage,...) all data of the EMSAT system. In particular, this refers to all needed input data such as geological data of the ground, TBM and tunnel geometry data, tunnelling process data and, especially, monitoring data as well as all produced output data such as the results of the simulation-based prognoses. The system will transfer the input data automatically in short time intervals to the tunnel simulation system from which it will receive the simulation-based prognoses. _x000D_In order to support the planning of safe and efficient further tunnel construction steps, the EMSAT system will also allow for predictions that will be achieved by allowing the user to vary design and TBM control parameters in the tunnel information system (e. g to change TBM cylinder pressures). This feature will allow for the virtual testing of planning variants through the fast generation of simulation scenarios. _x000D_2. The disc cutter monitoring system EMSAT-cut of SE-MUL will consist of hard- and software components that acquire contact forces between the disc cutters on the cutter head of the TBM and the tunnel face. These data will be transferred into continuous information on the ground conditions such as strength and stiffness. In order to generate these data continuously during TBM excavation, SE-MUL will develop a novel and robust measurement system. _x000D_3. The tunnel simulation system EMSAT-sim of RUB-ISM will consist of hard- and software components that automatically import the input data and initiate a numerical simulation of the TBM excavation process based on the finite element method (FEM). The simulation results will provide information on the actual state of tunnel displacements, stresses, pressures, etc. in the ground and in the tunnel components (e. g. the tunnel lining), the state of the groundwater and of possible critical states (e. g. ground collapse, cracking in tunnel lining, risk of damage of existing buildings). This information allows for a holistic and realistic description of each step of the construction process. The system will process the results in very short time and return them to the tunnel information system through which they will be made available to the experts of the tunnel project. The experts will use the simulation results for the assessment and evaluation of the momentary state of safety and risk of the project (e. g. to help avoiding tunnel collapses). _x000D__x000D_To meet the different tunnel project requirements the EMSAT system will be developed in such a way that it can be installed locally or accessed as a web service. In the course of the project the new EMSAT system will be specified, developed, implemented, tested and finally, validated under realistic site conditions. _x000D__x000D_The project consortium consists of three Ps that will carry out the project in close cooperation: _x000D__x000D_1. The CO P is GEODATA, an innovative Austrian SME and international supplier of integrated, IT-based systems and services for the acquisition, management and use of tunnel project data. The role of GEODATA is to manage and coordinate the project, to research, specify, develop, implement and test the tunnel information system and the interface components of the final EMSAT system. _x000D_2. The second P is SE-MUL, an Austrian university institute specialised in geotechnics and tunnelling. The role of SE-MUL is to research, specify, develop, implement and test the disc cutter monitoring system able to measure contact forces continuously during TBM excavation, to enable its coupling with the tunnel information system and to provide test facilities. _x000D_3. The third P is RUB-ISM, a German university institute specialised in the development of novel computational models and methods in underground engineering. The role of RUB-ISM is to research, specify, develop, implement and test the tunnel simulation system and to enable its coupling with the tunnel information system.

Acronym EMSAT (Reference Number: 5514)
Duration 01/09/2010 - 30/06/2013
Project Topic The aim of the project EMSAT is to develop a system continuously (online) producing and providing monitoring and simulation data relevant for a safe and economic tunnel construction during the excavation with a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM).
Project Results
(after finalisation)
A disc cutter monitoring system (EMSAT-cut) was developed by SE-MUL. It consists of hard- and software and it enables the measurement of forces acting on excavation tools, i.e. disc cutters, in real time. The development was carried out by extensive numerical simulation, laboratory testing, in-situ testing, implementation and algorithm developed. The software was developed by EMSAT-inf based on EMSAT-cut algorithms.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 4

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 Chair of Subsurface Engineering of the Mining University of Leoben Partner Austria
3 GEODATA Ziviltechnikergesellschaft mbH Coordinator Austria
3 Institute for Structural Mechanics of the Ruhr-University Bochum Partner Germany