Monday, November 29, 2021


Urja became the first Breakthrough TBM on Bengaluru Metro Phase II


Founded in 2007, China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Corporation Ltd. (CRCHI) is a large and professional equipment manufacturer specialized in developing and producing smart tunneling equipment and high-end rail transit system. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, BILLY PENG, DY. GENERAL MANAGER, CHINA RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION HEAVY INDUSTRY CORPORATION LTD
(CRCHI) speaks about the recent breakthrough achieved for NAMMA Metro Phase II, his company’s range of product or solutions, R&D and innovation and a lot more.



Recently your TBM Urja, made a breakthrough after completing a section of 855 metres from Cantonment to Shivajinagar stations, could you take us thru the challenges and how you overcame them.

First of all, Bengaluru metro project is recognized as one of the most difficult TBM tunnel works around the world with frequent stratum variations. The total section is a distance of 855 meters, among them 250 meters upto 200MPa full face hard rock and 350 meters boulders and bottom hard top soft ground encountered; the balance 255 meters consisted of silt or backfill stratum. Apart from that, TBM passed through the oldest settlements of Bengaluru city with a minimum 7.6 meters shallow overburden, which made much more challenging. Based on the difficulties, CRCHI has carried out a number of specific designs for this Hard rock slurry TBM to ensure smooth tunneling under complicated geological conditions such as heavy duty cutter head, 19 inch disc cutters, active articulation + stabilizer, Advanced geological detecting, EMS etc.

Due to the Pandemic, CRCHI has met a lot of difficulties such as no flight and visa termination. But CRCHI took quickly actions and organized local service team supporting the project for assembling, commissioning, test drive and trouble shooting etc., and then the entire Chinese experts reached to strength the backup. Since the last 2 years, CRCHI has continuously provided service to our clients.

Thanks for the efforts of L&T and CRCHI team, URJA (DZ670) made the breakthrough as the first TBM in all of 9 TBMs in this project. TBM VINDHYA (DZ672) is estimated to make a breakthrough early of Oct.



Which are the metro projects in which you are present, their current status, scope of work and cost, timeline for completion?

CRCHI has delivered more than thousands of all kinds of TBMs around the world. Apart from metro project, TBM for water diversion, sewage, cable tunnel, smart city, mines etc. are also applied. The largest TBM using in India are also manufactured by CRCHI and it is served for Mumbai Coastal Road Project.



Could you brief us on your range of product or solutions and their applications in the metro rail space?

CRCHI is now a comprehensive solution provider for the underground construction and rail transit industries. The main products include TBM (tunnel boring machine), Shaft-boring machine, Drilling Jumbo, Concrete Shotcrete Machine, Tunnel Vehicle for Lifting and Installation Work, Railway Turnout, Clip and Fastener, etc. Furthermore, CRCHI offers full life cycle services tailored to client’s needs, which cover design, fabrication, training, on-site service, refurbishment, spare parts supply, etc.



Any new products introduced in the market – and how have they been received? Tell us about the geographies/projects in which they are being targeted?

As the world second biggest supplier for railway maintenance equipment, CRCHI supplied more than `80 crore railway equipment to the railway department of India. It is also a huge demand in India in further because of HSR and more and more railway upgradation. Apart from that, India is world top second cotton plant country, a new machine called Automatic Cotton Picker which efficiency is same as 500 labour will be introduced by CRCHI to Indian Market. This machine will really help the farmers to enhance the harvest of cotton due to short plucking time.



As a company, give us a sense of the emphasis you place on R&D and innovation? Provide the USP’s of your offerings?

As an innovation-oriented enterprise, CRCHI puts 5% of its annual revenues into research and development. It has more than 1600 engineers and researchers to explore new cutting-edge technologies and construction methods which guarantee company’s technical competitiveness. Having maintained good relationships with world’s famous tunneling and engineering construction contractors, CRCHI acquires their construction experience and techniques for its fast development. Moreover, CRCHI has excellent production facilities, such as modernized workshops, large machining center, advanced testing center and laboratory, smart logistic system, automated production lines and other manufacturing facilities. CRCHI always develop the products which will fill the blank in the market such as intelligent NATM machine, which reduced a lot of potential risk for the workman.



What are the opportunities you are seeking in the metro space going forward? Tell us of the metro projects in which you are looking to contribute?

Right now there are a lot of opportunities for us in India as a lot of metro projects are there in pipe line. e.g. Delhi Metro, Agra Metro, Kanpur Metro, Patna metro, Chennai metro etc. All together there is a requirement of more than 40 Tunnel Boring machines and we are expecting good number out of this.



Provide us a brief idea of the existing market opportunities and your strategy to tap those going forward?

India is a growing sector for metro rail, bullet train and road projects. Every tier-I and Tier-II cities are now planning to go for the metro. To support our clients and to provide the best after sales service, we have already acquired 2 acres of land with our distributor M/s Friends Equipment and have already opened a ware house and going to start the TBM refurbishment factory in Patal Ganga Industrial area near Navi Mumbai. This will help us to provide the better aftersales service and immediate support to our clients and the project. We are also providing the spare parts ware house at each Project sites along with our service team to provide 24x7 availability of spare parts and service.



Future outlook for the metro rail industry and from a company perspective.

The Govt of India is giving a big push for metro rail all over India and we see huge opportunities in the metro rail sector. As a major player in this industry we feel proud to be associated with path breaking projects.

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