COMPANY NEWS UK TBM support service open for business 05 Sep 2013
TunnelTalk reporting
As one door closed, another has opened to keep career-long expertise and services available to the tunnelling industry in the UK and Ireland.
SD Tunnelling Ltd logo
SD Tunnelling Ltd, based in Essington, South Staffordshire, grows on from a company established in July 1991 as the UK base and representative of TBM manufacturer Lovat. It continued this operation for Caterpillar when the US equipment supplier bought Lovat in April 2008 and until Caterpillar declared it was to withdraw from the tunnelling business in May 2013.
"In the months following what was a shock announcement, we decided to set up to continue the business in our own right," said Steve Duncombe, Director of SD Tunnelling Ltd.
Steve Duncombe, Director, SD Tunnelling, on-call for TBM consultancy

Steve Duncombe, Director, SD Tunnelling, on-call for TBM consultancy

"We will offer a consultancy service to the tunnelling industry, with a special focus on TBM matters. We will also represent Caterpillar Tunneling Corporation Canada for spare parts and service to current customers and owners of the existing fleet of 22 Lovat/Caterpillar TBMs in the UK and Ireland. As the business grows we hope to bring former colleagues onboard including Mandy Rai who worked with Lovat Europe for 19 years and is well known to all UK customers."
According to Duncombe, there is much to do. "There is a long programme of TBM tunnelling coming up and the experience needed to manage successful machine operations begins with the contract documents. With each new project in the UK, the trend is to increase - in every detail and aspect - the specification for the design, fabrication and operation of the machines as well as their support systems."
March 2009: Lovat TBM 250 was number 46 sold to UK contractors

March 2009: Lovat TBM 250 was number 46 sold to UK contractors

"It is now an overly complex process, in my opinion, to understand the requirements, to comply with EU and national government regulations and to meet the desires of clients, which pass down to the contractors and manufacturers through their consultants. And that is before the TBMs are on site needing assembly and commissioning and advancing into drives that are either technically difficult to begin with or sometimes run into unexpected troubles. All the text and specifications written on paper are not going to replace experience - no matter where it comes from - in getting TBMs up and running and through difficult times."
Duncombe has more than 35 years experience in the tunnelling industry starting with Wellman Cranes, building backhoe shields for Zokor, USA, in the 1970s, and then for building Hydroshields for CWC in the 1980s, before switching to contracting with Fairclough (as was) and engaged in 1987 as a Senior Mechanical Engineer, and continued with AMEC, when it took over Fairclough, until 1991 when he set up Lovat Europe in the UK.
A career in tunnelling and a wealth of experience is on standby ready to be applied.
Contact details:
Caterpillar explains TBM closedown decision - TunnelTalk, May 2013
Roll out Lovat TBM 250! - TunnelTalk, March 2009
Second drive through on London cable link - TunnelTalk, March 2013

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