Shaft Boring Machine—A Method of Mechanized Vertical Shaft Excavation

by Thomas M. Goodell, Redpath Engineering Inc, Mesa, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


The Shaft Boring Machine (SBM) is a vertical application of proven rock boring technology. The machine applies a rotating cutter wheel with disk cutters for shaft excavation. The wheel is thrust against the rock by hydraulic cylinders and slews about the shaft bottom as it rotates. Cuttings are removed by a clam shell device similar to conventional shaft mucking and the muck is hoisted by buckets. The entire machine moves down (and up) the shaft through the use of a system of grippers thrust against the shaft wall. These grippers and their associated cylinders also provide the means to maintain verticality and stability of the machine. The machine applies the same principles as tunnel boring machines but in a vertical mode. Other shaft construction activities such as rock bolting, utility installation and shaft concrete lining can be accomplished concurrent with shaft boring. The method is comparable in cost to conventional sinking to a depth of about 460 meters (1500 feet) beyond which the SBM has a clear cost advantage. The SBM has a greater advantage in productivity in that it can excavate significantly faster than drill and blast methods.

Subject Headings: Shafts | Construction equipment | Excavation | Boring | Rocks | Rotation | Thrust | Cylinders

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