A-TRIS (Automated Tunnel Robotic Installation System)

Abstract

**Project Background**

Infrastructure tunnels are usually constructed using Tunnel Boring Machine's (TBM's) which are highly automated, used for cutting through the ground, producing a tunnel lining behind the TBM. However, once the tunnel is constructed, the fitting out of the tunnel for mechanical, electrical and communication services (M&E) are traditionally installed manually in a labour intensive manner, involving the fixing of bracketry and containment to support services. This traditional process has been found to be time consuming, unproductive, costly and it exposes workers to unsafe working environments and activities, (e.g. confined spaces, hand arm vibrations, dust, etc). The need for automating M&E service installations within tunnels led to the successful feasibility project of the Automated Tunnel Robotic Installation Solution (A-TRIS), which is now ready to be developed, a prototype built and demonstrated.

**Project Aims**

* To build and demonstrate a robotics and artificial Intelligence (RAI) process, to automate the traditional process of (M&E) service installations within an existing or recently constructed tunnel environment. Hence, eliminating the need for humans in unsafe and hazardous working environments, improving productivity across installation activities and promoting digitisation across the industry.
* To capture the effectiveness and performance of the automated system through real-time demonstrations, showcasing how A-TRIS can be utilised in all types and sizes of tunnel construction, used for road, rail transportation and energy infrastructure.

**Outputs**

Outputs from this project will lead to minimised health & safety issues at the workplace, reduction of overall risk to operatives and increased levels of quality assurance and productivity for tunnelling related schemes. In addition to this the following key outputs shall be demonstrated:

* reduced construction plant movement.
* delivery reductions.
* reduced installation costs and material waste.
* carbon footprint reductions.
* reductions of operatives within tunnelling environments.

**Focus Areas**

* The main area of focus will be the demonstrations of automating the installation process of M&E services in tunnels using robotics engineering and artificial intelligence to provide industrywide improvements.
* A-TRIS will identify the whole life process (design, manufacturing and installation processes) for a RAI automation solution for mechanical, electrical and communication infrastructure services in tunnels and where this innovative technology can be used in other construction sectors.

**Innovation**

The build and demonstration of A-TRIS will show the real-world feasibility and how the use of robotics and AI integrated with positioning surveying and visual technology, logistics engineering and software can deliver the automated positioning, installation and fixing of M&E services in tunnel environments.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

TUNNEL ENGINEERING SERVICES (U.K.) LTD. £1,335,929 £ 935,150
 

Participant

THE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY CENTRE LIMITED
MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY CENTRE £276,703 £ 276,703
COSTAIN LIMITED £73,098 £ 36,549
VVB ENGINEERING (UK) LIMITED £34,000 £ 20,400
CO-YOU LTD
I3D ROBOTICS LTD £276,312 £ 193,418

Publications

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