On Feb. 3, 2012, Germany’s Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, together with Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, visited the Herrenknecht plant in Guangzhou as part of her trip to China. The delegation included, among others, 20 high-level representatives of German industry.
Dr.-Ing. E.h. Martin Herrenknecht, Chairman of the Board of Management of Herrenknecht AG, presented the company to Federal Chancellor Merkel and Premier Wen, and talked about important Chinese and international reference projects. In addition, he introduced a tunnel boring machine, an earth pressure balance shield with a diameter of 6.95 m, which is being used in the construction of the Metro Line 2 in Dongguan.
Herrenknecht has been represented on the Chinese growth market since the delivery of the first machine for the construction of the Beijing metro in 2000. In the meantime, Herrenknecht is generating around 20 percent of its group sales in China. The huge economic growth and increasing urbanization result in a high demand for efficient underground traffic and supply infrastructures. Up to now, Herrenknecht technology is being used in 275 projects, mostly for inner-city tunnel construction. As many as 480 km of tunnel tubes were built using Herrenknecht technology over the past years, while a further 200 km are being planned. For metro construction alone, 172 machines have been and are still being used in 18 cities.
Until now, the construction of two double-story traffic tunnels in Shanghai to connect Changxing river island with the mainland is among the most important projects. The construction was carried out by two of the worldwide biggest tunnel boring machines with a diameter of 15.43 m each. As part of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, Herrenknecht machines crossed beneath the Yellow River near Zhengzhou. Two machines with a diameter of 9 m each drove two 4.25-km long tunnels – down to 36 m below the water level.
Herrenknecht maintains nine locations in China – six sales and service locations as well as three manufacturing and assembly plants – with a total of 850 members of staff. This is a win-win situation for both the locations in Germany and in China. Employees were not only hired in China. Around 1,000 additional jobs were also created in Germany to meet the growing need for and demand in tunnel boring machines in Asia. The Herrenknecht (Guangzhou) Tunnelling Equipment Co. Ltd. (HTE) branch, visited by the Federal Chancellor and the Premier, is a 100 percent subsidiary and the first plant established by Herrenknecht in China (2002). The Herrenknecht Group is the world market leader for mechanized tunneling technology. The family-run company employs around 4,000 members of staff worldwide,more than 2,000 of them at the German company headquarters in Schwanau.