German manufacturer GHH brings special Shotcreting Machine to help complete Mumbai Nagpur Expressway

German manufacturer GHH brings special Shotcreting Machine

The Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway is delayed until 2022. In the meantime, a machine ‘GHH IS26’ with remarkable reliability has been specially flown in from the supplier and is in operation to help complete the project to meet the new timeline.

The Expressway, also known as the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is eagerly awaited. Eight lanes of over 701 km would connect the two metropolises of Mumbai and Nagpur. The travel time would be reduced from about 18 hours to 8 hours, which means that the: travellers would effectively save a whole day.

While Mumbai is considered the most important port city on the subcontinent, Nagpur is not only the geographical centre of India, but also a major industrial hub. It is assumed that the new expressway would have an impact on the economic power of the whole of western India.

Expressway expected to open in May 2022
The ambitious project that started in 2016 was facing delays even before the Covid-19 pandemic which has further aggravated the situation. It is now expected that the Expressway will open for traffic in May 2022.

The overall project is divided into 16 sections, three of which are planned with tunnels. Tunnelling plays a key role in the timely completion of the project as this is where delays generally occur due to technical or geological imponderables. To ensure that the new timeline does not fall into disarray, the reins have been tightened in many places.

IS26 from GHH has 98 percent operational availability
A special machine was ordered from the German manufacturer GHH for this demanding sub-discipline. It is currently in use on the 520 km long main section between Nagpur and Shirdi, which is scheduled for completion in May 2021. The workers use it to apply the shotcrete to the tunnel walls.

The investment in this machine has probably already paid off: Unlike other heavy construction equipment, the IS26 from GHH has an availability rate of over 98 per cent, calculated over a period of more than half a year. By mid-December 2020, it had already applied more than 3,500 m3 of shotcrete.

German manufacturer GHH brings special Shotcreting Machine

Small footprint, big impact
The IS26 is extremely compact and can also optimally line hard-to-reach places on the tunnel wall with concrete. For this purpose, it has an articulated arm instead of a rigid boom. This is an important argument for safety later on, in the finished tunnel. The boom allows a spraying range of up to 15 m vertically and 10.5 m horizontally. The spray head can rotate 360 degrees. The machine was built for tunnel cross-sections from 16 to 130 m2. It has an all-wheel drive, equipped with four-wheel steering, and has a ROPS & FOPS Level II certified cabin with a high level of safety reserve for the driver. The driver’s job is easy because he can not only turn the seat 180 degrees, but also control the machine remotely.

German manufacturer GHH brings special Shotcreting Machine

It is now hoped that the project’s completion will not be delayed any further, as no difficulty is being foreseen in further operation of the GHH machine. GHH has been available for answering any queries regarding the machine and has extended all the support, including supply of spare parts at the site. The company’s engineers would like to be there when the line is put into operation. The German machine, combined with Indian craftsmanship and passion, should get the job done.

NBM&CW January 2021

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