The cement company Vigier Cement AG is located in Péry-Reuchenette (Switzerland). To guarantee the supply of raw materials for the coming 80 years, the company planed to develop a new quarry in the "Tscharner" area. For this, a 2,325-meter-long development tunnel had to be constructed tackling an altitude difference of almost 200 meters. Due to the prognosticated geological conditions consisting of medium to coarse limestone with isolated marl formations and potential clayey debris zones, tunnel securing was playing a major role.
The 9.53-meter machine, designed for this task, was the first large-diameter Gripper TBM produced by Herrenknecht. It was equipped with a relatively short cutterhead, which allowed for early rock support. In view of the prognosticated geological conditions, rock support is integrated in the design in form of a permanent securing system. Two roof bolting units are mounted only four meters behind the cutterhead. Auxiliary equipment such as probe drilling or shotcrete units could also be integrated.
After 12 months of successful tunnelling, the machine reached its target dead-on on March 19, 2001. The Tscharner Tunnel is the first trendsetting reference project for Herrenknecht in Alpine hard rock tunnelling in Switzerland to be followed by many more epoch-making projects.