Together with the John Holland and Theiss joint vehicle for the east link tunnel project in Melbourne, Australia 3DX was given the exciting opportunity to automate the first guided tunnel excavator. This was an incredible undertaking by 3DX and a privilege to be given the opportunity to investigate a better way to increase productivity in tunnel construction.
3DX devised and developed a solution that could trim the walls of the tunnel with 3D machine control using robotic total stations to control the excavator with a rotaryhead attachment after the road header had excavated the tunnel using the VMT guidance system from Germany. The 3DX control system was able to trim the walls to a much higher degree of accuracy to what was otherwise possible. Prior to commencement, the project took a lot of convincing from 3DX to persuade the project survey manager that the capability was possible. Once the clients saw the results they were very impressed to the point that the survey manager presented his findings of our efforts at the world machine control conference in Switzerland the same year.