76 machines for superlative metro construction

In China, new metro networks are being planned on a large scale and then built without delay. No less than 76 tunnel boring machines by Herrenknecht are excavating their way through the underground of the fast-growing metropolis of Guangzhou. The soil formations encountered are manifold: varying degrees of weathering and rock strengths, quicksand and granite as well as underground water deposits. The Herrenknecht TBMs are coping with these conditions very well. Some of them are in­volved in driving several lots. The S-241, for example, has com­pleted seven missions. Machines adapted to specific pro­jects are equipped with a wear-resistant cutting wheel, among other features. Potential uses of classical Earth Pressure Balance Shields are being enhanced by injection systems for soil conditioning or overcut drilling, facilitating safe and precise excavation of tunnel tubes also in mixed soil conditions. The working processes of mechanized tunnelling and additional tools (e. g. forward planning of ring segment sequences for the installation of segments) support jobsite teams in building metro tunnels of optimum quality.

Project background

Since 1997, Guangzhou has been building its metro network at high speed. In the year 2019, a total of 14 lines with over 400 km of metro line are in operation – reaching as far as the airport and the neighboring city of Foshan. A total of 888 km and 18 lines are to be completed by 2023.

Guangzhou Metro

Project highlights

  • 76 Herrenknecht TBMs are exca­vating more than 230km of tunnel: The machines are reused several times; some main drives have been working perfectly on more than 18km.
  • The jobsite teams achieved best tunnelling performances of up to 48m per day and 691m in a month.
  • As Herrenknecht has its own facilities in Guangzhou, delivery times can be met reliably, even in cases where the schedule is tight.
  • Group partners: VMT (Navigation, monitoring) und Global Tunnelling Experts (4 members of staff / 2 job profiles)

Herrenknecht in Asia: always close to the customer

Herrenknecht provides a wide spectrum of solutions in China. Sales, service, manu­facturing and assembly capacities allow for a direct support of projects and short delivery times in the Asian Pacific region. Guangzhou is the biggest lo­cation in China. Here, the tunnel boring machines are assembled, commissioned, or rebuilt, while excavation tools are manufactured and sold. With around 900 members of staff in China at nine locations, we offer an all-around service – quick, reliable, and on time.

For the metro system in Guangzhou, Herrenknecht made an outstanding contribution. Herrenknecht provided us reliable services.

Zhu Weibin, Vice General Manager, Guangzhou Metro Bane NOR

The endless city

The Pearl River Delta is developing into the largest conurbation in the world. The companies Herrenknecht (Guangzhou) Tunnelling Equipment Co., Ltd. (1) and Guang­zhou Herrenknecht Tunnelling Machinery Co., Ltd. (2) are delivering the tunnelling technology needed for the con­­struction of the Delta’s underground infrastructure. Together with the other Herren­knecht locations in China and Asia, we create com­prehensive equipment and service packages according to our customers’ requirements.

Project data
Column 0 Column 1
Tunnelling length
over 230km (in total)
Soft ground
Heterogeneous ground
Varying layers/degrees of weathering of granite, sandstone, claystone, siltstone limestone, clay, sand, gravel, marl
Contractors are numerous Chinese constructions companies
Machine data
68x EPB Shield:
Diameter: 6,250 mm
Lining method: Segmental lining

8x Mixshield:
Diameter: 6,250 mm
Lining method: Segmental lining

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Steffen Dubé President and General Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA Inc.
Gerhard Goisser Commercial Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA, Inc.

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Steffen Dubé President and General Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA Inc.
Gerhard Goisser Commercial Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA, Inc.