Metering technology in use for tunnel construction of the future

DOPAG supports students in the innovation competition organised by Tesla founder Elon Musk

Tunnel construction has always been something that the Swiss have excelled at – and with a high degree of accuracy and precision. These are qualities that are also highly important for DOPAG metering and mixing technology in the development of products, such as valves and pumps. DOPAG is therefore supporting the Swissloop Tunneling project. With this project, the team of students from ETH Zürich want to revolutionise tunnel construction with a new tunnel boring machine. The team is taking part in the competition launched by Tesla founder Elon Musk under the name ‘Not-A-Boring-Competition’. With this competition, Elon Musk is looking to make the concept of the Hyperloop a reality. The Hyperloop is a future means of transport consisting of a slim transport capsule floating in vacuum tubes that can transport people or goods at high speed and low cost. The goal of the students involved in Swissloop Tunneling is to make tunnel construction faster, more sustainable and more efficient.

DOPAG valves ensure optimal material processing during tunnel construction
The new tunnel robot aims to move at least five millimeters per second. Once it has carved its way through the rock, the next step is to line the tunnel walls. Here, prefabricated elements are not used as usual, but are produced directly within the tunnel boring machine from a dual-component polymer. Two material pressure regulators from DOPAG are installed in the system used for this. Material pressure regulators reduce the pressure of the material being conveyed down to the necessary working pressure, They compensate for fluctuations in material pressure and thus ensure an even flow of material. In this case, the Swissloop Tunneling team installed material pressure regulators with membranes. These are always used for reactive materials, as in the case of the polymer used here.

With its new tunnel robot, the Swissloop Tunneling team has made it to the final stage of the Not-A-Boring-Competition – one of twelve teams remaining from almost 400 applicants. This puts the team in the top three per cent worldwide. The partner team was also successful in a previous competition – in 2019, the Swissloop transport capsule achieved second place in the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition organised by Elon Musk.

For more information about the Swissloop Tunneling project, visit:

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