Penn State, University of Innsbruck Studying Link between Operators and TBM Performance

Researchers Seeking Input from Industry

TBM-machine performance data are commonly used for interpretation of ground conditions and behavior, yet these data can be highly influenced by the actions of the machine operator when steering the TBM. Researchers at Penn State University and the University of Innsbruck (Austria) are collaborating on a project to study the machine operator’s decisions (including his reasoning) and its impact on the interpretation of machine performance data. This would facilitate a better understanding of actual machine performance in various ground conditions and allows for elimination of the impact of operator on machine performance.

The target of this study is to determine the skills and expertise of TBM operators and clarify the areas of responsibility of TBM manufacturer, operators, construction management (CM), and design engineers, regarding the skill sets and decisions by the TBM operator.

The data obtained in this study will be utilized to examine if there is room for improvement in terms of operators training and skill sets, as well as interpretation of machine performance data relative to this issue to provide for an increase machine performance and improved accuracy of performance prediction models for TBM application.

A questionnaire is being sent to various parties, including machine manufacturers, contractors and machine operators, to collect some basic information from them about their skills and experiences with machine operation.  The questions are related to skills, expertise and responsibilities and are designed for a quick turnaround. In order to reach an objective evaluation, three different questionnaires are prepared for TBM machine operators, contractors and TBM manufacturers.

The questionnaires are in Microsoft Word format and can be answered within about five minutes. For more information about the study or to complete a questionnaire, visit http://www.personal.psu.edu/jur17/TBM-study/

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