21 September 2019

Interaction-Kapil Bhati, MD, Robbins India

Robbins aims to support its clients throughout the entire tunneling process

With the infrastructure scene now hotting up across India in terms of construction of new metros, hydro and irrigation projects which require tunnelling work the US based Robbins Company, the world’s foremost manufacturer and developer of advanced Tunnel Boring Machines is all set to cash in the opportunities. KAPIL BHATI, MD, ROBBINS INDIA spoke to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES on the opportunities going forward for his company.

 

Briefly tell us key features/USPs that have contributed in strengthening and maintaining your stronghold in the market? For over 60 years, Robbins laid innovation in the tunneling industry / field. Here are few innovations listed below.

  • Designed and manufactured first main beam TBM.
  • Designed and manufactured First double shield TBM.
  • Manufactured First 19 inch cutters.
  • First successful rock boring head for auger boring machine.
  • First successful employment of disc cutters to bore hard rock.
  • First floating gripper design allowing continuous steering of a TBM.
  • First variable frequency cutter head drive.
  • First wedge – lock cutter mounting system.

We manufactured the world’s first rock tunnel boring machine (TBM), shortly when James Robbins founded in 1952. The TBM was built for Mitry Constructors who were working on some irrigation project near Pierre, South Dakota, USA.

The company also invented both the Main Beam and Double Shield TBMs. We are best known for its very successful Main Beam TBMs, but a pioneer in hard rock Double Shield machines too. Also, we hold 90% of the world record for production of TBMs from 3 to over 14 m in diameter.

 

Any new products introduced in the market? Tell us about the geographies/projects in which they are being targeted?
It has been more than 10 years now when Robbins India made its debut in 2005 with the goal of expanding in all parts of the country and providing the best underground construction solutions in the minimum possible time frames. Robbins still holds the same vision and plans of our presence in Indian market on the long term by providing equipment and full crew for its operations too. Robbins aims to support its clients throughout the entire tunneling process by providing expert services that include operational and technical assistance for all types of challenging geological strata.
The Robbins Company has recently launched our Crossover Series of TBMs which can work in combination of mixed soils and rock respectively. The XRE stands for Crossover Rock/EPB which is the most common type of dual/hybrid machine, and having features of Single Shield Hard Rock machines and EPBs for efficient boring in mixed ground geology. Other types of Crossover machines are XSE (Crossover between Slurry/EPB) and the XRS (Crossover between Rock/Slurry) TBMs. Robbins has been targeting these machines in all the geologies across the continent and we have been quite successful in endeavor.

               

Which are the metro projects in which you are present, their status, scope of work and cost, timeline for completion?

Robbins India has been growing at a steady pace since the date of its debut. With so many projects in pipeline in the transport sector, hydro and irrigation tunnels, Robbins sees a huge potential growth thereby increasing our profits and having more projects in kitty. The Robbins Company has supplied TBM’s in Delhi Metro, Jaipur Metro, Chennai Metro Package UAA-02 and used the same machines in Package UAA-08 due to high reliability and durability of Robbins TBM which performed best in Chennai mixed face geology. All other metro project wherein Robbins machines were deployed has been completed on time. Apart from these projects Robbins has also supplied 4 Nos of 10m diameter and 1Nos of 6.25m Hard Rock TBM’s in India on water transfer projects. Robbins India have extended its services by taking back to back Operational projects to drive Competitors machine in difficult situation of Bangalore and rescued the project for the timely completion of the client.

 

As a company, give us a sense of the emphasis you place on R&D and innovation? Provide the USP’s of your offerings vis-a-vis competition.

Research, Development and Innovation plays a very important role in our Industry and The Robbins Company has a dedicated team of Engineers working in USA in that regard.

For over 60 years, Robbins laid innovation in the tunneling industry / field. Here are few innovations listed below.

  • First main beam TBM.
  • First double shield TBM.
  • First 19 inch cutters.
  • First successful rock boring head for auger boring machine.
  • First successful employment of disc cutters to bore hard rock.
  • First floating gripper design allowing continuous steering of a TBM.
  • First variable frequency cutter head drive.
  • First wedge – lock cutter mounting system.
  • Cutter wear detection system.

 

 

Provide us a brief idea of the existing market opportunities and your strategy to tap those going forward?

Indian Construction equipment industry looks promising especially with the Delhi Metro having in execution for phase 3 with envisages adding 140 km of the network and the construction is in process at various metropolitan cities of India and the metro is planned in other cities of the country like Bangalore - Phase II, Chennai – Phase II, Lucknow, Jaipur Metro Phase -II, Hyderabad, Mumbai – Line II, and Ahmedabad along with the road tunnels for highways, hydroelectric power projects that are under way and would require enormous number of TBM’s of all types which will bring boom in the construction industry. Robbins still holds the same vision and plans our presence in Indian market on the long term by getting involved and supporting the projects operationally too. Robbins aims to support its clients throughout the entire tunneling process by providing expert services that include operational and technical assistance for its machines and best after sales service.




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