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Flying launch

A flying launch on a TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) is a specialized and sophisticated method used in civil engineering and tunnel construction. It refers to the process of launching or inserting the TBM into a tunnel excavation shaft, often while the TBM is already in motion or flying, without the need for it to come to a complete stop. This method is used primarily in tunnelling projects where there are space constraints or logistical challenges that make traditional methods of TBM insertion impractical.

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Flying Launch on a TBM


The Silvertown Tunnel is located to the east of the existing Blackwall Tunnel, which is a critical river crossing in East London. The main objectives of the project were to reduce congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel, improve connectivity in East London, and promote economic development in the area. At PHL we devised and designed a flying launch method using specially designed 100-150 ton jacks alongside a ground-breaking PLC system that excels in industry standards.

At Silvertown Tunnel PHL conducted a high scale flying launch operation using 10x 100 ton jacks, 10x 150 ton jacks alongside a in house designed hydraulic pump capable of achieving a smooth and precise completion. With this we worked alongside ….. To create a state of the art PLC system to closely and accurately monitor the force applied and the movement of the TBM on each corner to ensure a safe and accurate placement. In total we completed the flying launch a total of 40 meters (20 on each side of the tunnel) in a record breaking time.

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