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Developing a new solution for tunnel transports 28 Sep 2016

Mühlhäuser News Release

Mühlhäuser announces it has entered into a strategic partnership with SMT Scharf GmbH over the exclusive sale of a jointly-developed logistics solution for transports along the tunnel ceiling.

“Through this cooperation with SMT Scharf we further expand our position as a global leader of logistics solutions for tunnel construction,” said Markus Rechner, CEO of Mühlhäuser. “In SMT Scharf we have a partner with many years of expertise in mining logistics, and by combining the core competences of Mühlhäuser and SMT Scharf we can enlarge our product portfolio. We expect the first order for a complete logistics system consisting of drive units and solutions for materials handling, as well as corresponding rail systems and services, in due course.”

The tunnel ceiling monorail transportation system, as developed by SMT Scharf and Mühlhäuser
The tunnel ceiling monorail transportation system, as developed by SMT Scharf and Mühlhäuser

SMT Scharf AG CEO Hans Joachim Theiß said: “Based on the SMT monorail transportation system, we have jointly developed with Mühlhäuser a logistics solution that deploys the proven SMT technology of riding along the tunnel crown. The new top-heading rail system is modified to fit the transport requirements of civil tunnelling.”

SMT Scharf will supply major elements of the transportation equipment and will contribute to the new system’s further development, while Mühlhäuser will advise interested customers on the possibilities and tailor tunnel-specific logistics solutions based around the SMT system.

Mühlhäuser has become the only one-stop company worldwide that can design and supply different systems such as railbound transportation solutions (rolling stock, rails, switches), rubber tired solutions (MSVs), tunnel belt conveyor systems and pump solutions like component grouting plants along the upper ridge – as well as service its entire range with a team of technicians. Special attention has been paid by the company to reinforcing knowhow in the area of mechanized tunnelling, and Mühlhäuser has at its disposal a large range of specialists with many years of experience in this field. To this end it struck a strategic partnership deal in 2015 with France-based TBM manufacturer NFM Technologies.

“Essentially, tunnelling logistics starts right behind the shield – hence, optimizing materials flow must begin in the TBM back-up system,” said Rechner, who gained extensive experience in tunnel construction in his capacity of Head of Plant and Equipment with Bilfinger (since acquired by Implenia) in Mannheim. “Our method is to invite all tunnel construction providers to distinguish between shield and back-up – rather than considering this as a closed system – and to investigate the potential of optimizing back-up and supply logistics, together, with us.”

Mühlhäuser CFO Rainer Oestreicher, who previously managed strategic expansion programs for Herrenknecht, added: “Time is money – and this is especially true in tunnel construction. Good advance rates depend much more on supply and back-up logistics than on sheer cutting capacity. Economised logistics offer substantial cost savings’ potential with shorter and leaner back-up systems, reduced interfaces and personnel resources, reduced equipment and transport at site – and effectively result in higher performance. Potential savings are around 10–30%, subject to an optimum logistics concept all the way from back-up and supply equipment right through to the interfaces outside the tunnel.”

“This transportation along the tunnel ceiling solution, which has been developed in partnership with SMT Scharf, can further provide substantial advantages since it allows for simultaneous work to take place along the upper and lower levels of the tunnel.”

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