ROBY 850: the smart drilling robot for tunnel construction

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Challenge

Tunnel drilling involves considerable risks: the health and safety of site workers, delays caused by environmental issues, and the added complications of environments which can be either dusty or excessively humid. Drilling in particular, either in the walls, floor or ceiling, can pose significant problems, and cause delays on the site, with negative consequences for developers and local communities alike.

Innovative Solution

In response to the need for safer, more efficient drilling in tunnel environments the Industry Center of Excellence within the Energies & Services division teamed up with Bouygues Construction to design, develop and deploy ROBY 850: a fully robotized solution.

ROBY is piloted by a human operator, who can control its positioning via theodolite and verify that there are no obstacles via the 3D cameras built into ROBY’s design. ROBY first inspects the site, sending information back to the operator, then drills and installs joints at a rate of 40 per hour; after the work is done, ROBY cleans up the site to avoid dust issues.

ROBY is a first: no alternative exists on the market, prompting the development of the solution in-house, in a cross-functional team of engineers, project managers and robotics specialists.

Client Benefits

ROBY 850 is a leap forward in terms of efficiency and safety. The robotized solution not only replaces labor in dangerous conditions, but actually enhances productivity and allows workers to focus on higher value tasks and reskill instead of drilling, they are piloting ROBY via a digital interface. The health & safety benefits of deploying a robotized solution in high-risk environments such as tunnel drilling are evident: lower risks of human error and of accidents.

Clients benefit not only from efficiency and lower rates of onsite incidents, but can also avoid delays in project delivery: for major works the negative financial impact of such delays can be significant.

Key Figures

ROBY 850 drills 40 holes an hour on average and has already installed thousands of joints on the Hong Kong tunnel project, where it was first deployed.

Maturity Level

Level 1 : Proof of Concept or lab test
Level 2: Tested under real life conditions
Level 3: Commercial solution


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