Hyperbaric assistance service for tunnel boring machines






23 Mar, 2022



Mar 23, 2022

 Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are machines used to excavate tunnels in different types of soil ranging from sand to granite. With a wide range of sizes, they allow the construction of road, rail or navigation tunnels. They are also used for digging galleries, sewers and sewage collectors. Tunnel boring machines carry out several operations: digging, extracting soil and laying tunnel lining segment.

Tunneling machine with controlled pressure

When drilling in soft ground or under groundwater, it is necessary to maintain a controlled pressure at the cutting head in order to guarantee the stability of the ground. This also allows for maintenance work on the harvesting head, such as changing the cutting tools. A hyperbaric lock is then installed on the harvesting head to maintain the desired pressure according to the terrain. The pressure in the excavation chamber can be adapted to the diversity of the terrain and the hydrogeological conditions.

Hyperbaric assistance service for tunnel boring machines

With more than 60 years of expertise in the field of controlled pressures, Comex offers a hyperbaric assistance service to tunnel boring machines. As an example, we have been working for a year on a power line undergrounding project in the Paris suburbs. We rent a mobile hyperbaric chamber to the company Spie batignolles.
A second hyperbaric chamber is also mobilized punctually for other operators.

Our service includes :

    • Expertise of the installations under pressure
    • Leakage control
    • Intervention at the level of pressure locks
    • Calibration of pressure gauges
    • On-site training

Comex also offers à containerized transportable mobile hyperbaric system.
The containerized structure offers the advantage of moving the equipment by land (by truck) as well as by sea or air.
Manually or electronically operated is an autonomous equipment featuring its own air production and storage system as well as its therapeutic gases storage and network

The diving rules are governed by the hyperbaric prevention manual, Mention D.
This mention allows the intervention of tubists (hyperbarists) to carry out maintenance work on the cutting head.

This activity in controlled pressure completes the range of services already offered by Comex in hyperbaric area :

I would like to thank all our “Tunnellers” clients that we met on different sites. Our exchanges have been very enriching both on the human level and on the methods of hyperbaric interventions. We are very happy to support these leading actors and to put at their disposal 60 years of experience in the safety of hyperbaric workers. Congrats to all the divers mention D, and to all the other actors who allow us to go underground…


Project Manager, Comex SAS


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