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Webuild Commissions Factory for TBM Assembly and Refurbishment

Webuild, a global leader when it comes to underground excavations, has created a factory at Terni, Italy, to assemble and regenerate tunnel boring machines (TBMs) so that the Group can reduce its CAPEX and operational costs. The new factory represents the last piece of the Group’s investment plan in innovation and training to create quality employment in Italy.

Webuild will have in total 58 TBMs considering those already operating, those being assembled, those that have been ordered and those that will be ordered for planned projects. When these machines have completed the project for which they were built, they need servicing and eventual modifications and must also be technically updated to be used in new projects and satisfy the new requirements for the latter, also in a circular economic perspective.

This is why Webuild decided to create a TBM regeneration factory at Terni: to service, modify and update the TBMs of the Webuild Group to allow to reuse them in new projects.

The initiative besides extending the lifespan of these TBMs, and reduce all costs linked to these machines, also aims at gaining a know-how that is useful to develop, in an immediately subsequent phase, new technologies that can increase the automation levels of these TBMs to benefit safety, work quality, and operational efficiency.

Interventions on a TBM vary according to the specific need, and can just go from a simple servicing activity to a substantial change with important updates. This is why costs also vary as do the times needed to carry out these interventions that can in fact require from 5 to 9 months.

The commitment in carrying out these maintenance activities on these TBMs with the foundation of WEM (Webuild Equipment & Machinery), stands as a clear reflection of the numerous tunnel boring activities done by the Webuild Group globally, especially in Italy. In fact, solely in Sicily it is currently working on 7 railway projects covering 200 km of railway network, which include 175 km of tunnels and 19 TBMs programmed to work in the construction sites of this Region, with an investment exceeding 400 million euros. The most recent TBM that started to work on the project is that being used in the Sciglio construction site, on the Taormina-Giampilieri section.

Due to these activities, the Group decided to greatly invest in the sector with the related research activities, also from a specialized training perspective, and using simulators that allow training new personnel directly on site. Webuild has built a completely automated factory at Belpasso, Catania, to produce pre-cast concrete segments to be used to line the tunnels of the two lots on the Catania-Messina route, with a second factory near Enna soon to be opened too. The first of its kind in Italy, it will produce a segment every 7 minutes (against the 10 minutes required without total automation).

With its training an employment plan named “Cantiere Lavoro Italia,” the Group has decided to provide training programs to hire the required technical figures like TBM operators, thanks to simulators specially built for the Belpasso training center near Catania, in Sicily, Italy. The Sicilian training center adds to the many that Webuild has created in Italy, just like the Novi Ligure one in Piedmont for the Terzo Valico dei Giovi project, which is dedicated to the traditional excavation method and open works, and the one in Campania, which specializes in mechanical tunnel excavation and which will soon be opened.

RELATED: Webuild Consortium Wins €1.32 Bln Contract in Sicily

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