Positioning the supports of a tunnel boring machine (TBM)


When drilling tunnels with the Gripper-TBM tunnel boring machine, the machine braces itself against the rock walls before the hydraulic cylinder presses the drilling head against the rock with high pressure. Before drilling, supports (grippers) move outward against the rock and brace the machine. The grippers must be centered. A suitable sensor for position measurement is therefore necessary. The sensor must be small, since there is little space in such a machine for the installation of components. Its measurement field must begin from a range of 20 mm. In addition, the sensor must be very robust for this rough drilling application and output a fault-free signal.


The ODSL 8 optical distance sensor and, alternatively, the ODS 96B sensor are used. One of these sensors is mounted to the left and one to the right of the gripper in order to perform a difference measurement. They can already perform an averaging calculation ex works. Thus, no extra work, e.g., for programming, is necessary for this purpose.


  • Branch/Area

    Material Handling (tunneling machines)

  • Duty

    Positioning, Machine protection / collision prevention

  • Application

    Positioning the supports of a tunnel boring machine (TBM)