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Microtunneling – Benefits and Types

The Basics of Microtunneling

Microtunneling is a construction method used to build underground tunnels for the purpose of connecting two points. This is done with the help of a micro tunnel boring machine (MTBM), which digs through the ground and creates an underground tunnel. It’s an efficient and cost-effective way to dig tunnels, as it requires fewer resources than traditional methods. Let’s explore more about micro tunneling and what makes it so popular in the construction industry.

What is Microtunneling?

Microtunneling is a trenchless construction method used for installing pipelines, cables, and other underground utilities. It involves the use of a remotecontrolled micro tunnel boring machine (MTBM) that is guided by a laser guidance system to create a small tunnel under the surface. The micro tunnel boring machine typically consists of a cutting head, an auger, a shield, and a trailing support system. The cutting head is used to cut and shape the tunnel while the auger is used to remove the soil and transport it to a designated storage area. The shield provides stability and support during the construction process while the trailing support system is used to install the pipeline or other utility. Microtunneling is an efficient and costeffective method of installing underground utilities without disrupting the surface environment.

Advantages of Microtunneling

One of the biggest advantages of using microtunneling is that it causes minimal disruption to the environment around it. Since most work takes place underground, there’s no need to worry about displacing any wildlife or disrupting people’s lives on the surface. Additionally, since micro tunneling requires fewer resources than traditional methods, it can save time and money on projects. This makes it ideal for large-scale infrastructure projects like sewer lines or water systems.

Microtunneling also provides a safer working environment for those involved in the project. As most work takes place underground, workers don’t have to risk their safety by being exposed to machinery or heavy equipment aboveground. Furthermore, as microtunnels are smaller than traditional tunnels, they provide workers with easy access to their work area without having to go through long and complex shafts or other hazardous conditions that may be found in larger tunnels.

Types of Microtunneling Machines

Micro tunnel Boring Machines (MTBMs) are typically divided into two main categories – open-face MTBMs and closed-face MTBMs – depending on how they operate underground. Open-face machines use a cutting head that creates an opening as they move forward, while closed-face machines have a cutter that creates a complete pipe behind them as they move forward. Both types have their own advantages and disadvantages, but both ultimately provide an efficient way to dig tunnels beneath the surface without causing too much disruption above ground.


Overall, micro tunneling is an efficient way to create underground tunnels with minimal disruption aboveground. By using specialized equipment—such as open or closed-face MTBMs—it allows for faster digging times while still providing safe working conditions for those involved in the project. With its many benefits, such as cost savings, environmental conservation, and safety considerations, it’s no wonder why so many civil engineers are turning towards this innovative construction method when tackling large-scale infrastructure projects such as sewer lines or water systems!

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