Contractor using remote-control excavators on Sydney Metro project

CPB Contractors, an Australian subsidiary of German-based Hochtief, said its JV with Italian civil engineering firm Ghella is using remote-control excavators to construct cross passages between the rail tunnels for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport, Station Boxes and Tunnelling (SBT) project.

An operator runs a Brokk remote-controlled machine (Image: CPB Contractors) An operator runs a Brokk remote-controlled machine while doing work for the Sydney Metro expansion project in Australia. (Image: CPB Contractors)

CPB said, “This innovative approach prioritises worker safety and enables efficient tunnel construction in the limited space within the tunnels.”

An image accompanying the release shows a worker operating a Sweden-based Brokk robotic demolition unit with a Komatsu excavator in the background.

“Beyond the benefits of allowing workers to operate the machines from a safe distance, these compact excavators excel in the restricted underground environment. Their size allows for efficient and accurate excavation, shaping, and trimming of the mini tunnels”, added CPB.

Contract details for the Sydney Metro project

CPB and Ghella received the AUS$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) contract for the SBT project from the New South Wales government in December 2021.

The SBT scheme involves constructing a 9.8km-long tunnel expansion to the Sydney Metro system in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The JV announced work reached a significant milestone in late June. 

The remote excavation crews will clear 39 cross passages along the nearly 10k-stretch of tunnels, including for stations at St Marys, Orchard Hills, Airport Business Park, Airport Terminal and Aerotropolis and at services facilities at Claremont Meadows and Bringelly.

The entire Sydney Metro project is scheduled to complete in 2032.


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