Giant Robbins machine embarks on hydropower tunnel

Oct 02, 2008

On September 18, 2008 the 12.43 m (40.1 ft) diameter Robbins machine was launched on a 16.7 km (10.4 mi) long hydropower tunnel in Sichuan Province, China.  The machine will bore one of four headrace tunnels, which will draw water from the nearby Yalong River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The large TBM will join another 7.2 m (23.7 ft) diameter Robbins machine, which was launched earlier in 2008 to bore a drainage tunnel on the same project.

Assembly of the Main Beam TBM and back-up system began in mid-April 2008 at the Jinping-II headrace tunnel #1 and finished on August 11.  Crews then walked the TBM and the first three back-up gantries 200 m (650 ft) forward to a launch chamber, where the conveyor system and six more gantries were assembled.

"Everything has gone remarkably well in retrospect. Of course we had problems, but our onsite assembly team was able to manage them as they occurred without adversely affecting the assembly process. The machine assembly was completed on schedule and no-load testing of all critical systems has gone smoothly.  Now, we are prepared to begin a one thousand meter long test boring program to fully commission the equipment," said Steve Smading, Robbins Project Manager.

The machine was assembled in an underground launch chamber using Onsite First Time Assembly (OFTA). OFTA, without pre-erection in a manufacturing facility, has eliminated many shipping risks to the remote jobsite.  The accelerated assembly schedule meant most of the heavy TBM structures were already shipped from the manufacturing facility in Dalian, ahead of the low water season on the Yangtze River when such shipments are not possible.

Due to go online in 2010, the Jinping-II Hydropower Station will utilize a natural 180 degree bend of the Yalong River, resulting in a 60 m (200 ft) drop in elevation to generate 4800 MW of electricity annually. The project, for owner Ertan Hydropower Development Company Ltd., is located 17 km (10.5 mi) downstream from the Jinping-I Hydropower station, which is slated for completion in 2014 and will have an annual generating capacity of 3600 MW.

The Robbins Company
Brianna Home, Marketing Director
29100 Hall Street
Solon, OH 44139
Phone: +1 Direct: 253 872 4484

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