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Tomorrow Today

Tunnel Boring Machines – the surprises of subterranean construction

In 2015, a new high-tech research X-ray laser facility known as X-FEL is set to start operating in Hamburg. That required the construction of a network of tunnels – a job that was taken on by a giant tunnel boring machine nicknamed AMELI.

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The machine works in what’s called shielded mode. The shield – a kind of gigantic cylinder with a cutter head – burrows horizontally through sand, gravel and boulders.