Manoj Garg, Managing Director & CEO, Herrenknecht India Pvt Ltd, says, with the renewed thrust on infrastructure, a sustainable demand for TBMs is expected in the coming years.
What is the kind of demand you are seeing in India and how does it compare to demand in other emerging markets?
India needs sustainable, efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly infrastructure to reduce environmental impact, enhance visual impact, and minimize surface disturbance. To fulfill these needs, for the construction of metro, irrigation, utilities and road tunnels, employing Tunnel Boring machines (TBM) is the most preferred construction method. India is way behind other emerging markets in using TBMs. However, with the Government of India´s renewed focus on infrastructure development, we expect to see a sustainable demand for TBMs in India in the coming years.
You have a range of products and services. What is it that is seeing the most demand and usage in India?
Herrenknecht offers TBMs which are specially configured for geologies comprising hard rock, soft ground and mixed-face conditions with high overburden and high ground water pressures. We estimate that the product most in demand in India would be Earth pressure balance (EPB) TBM.
From a technology standpoint, what is that you offer in the Indian market that is different from most of your competitors?
Construction of tunnels requires high degree of expertise, knowledge, experience and technological solutions to encounter unforeseen geological challenges. Herrenknecht is the globally most respected TBM company having an unmatched experience, innovative engineers, and technological advantages over competition. We offer perfectly coordinated job-site services, qualified and experienced personnel, supply high-quality German TBM, excavation tools, and spares.
Herrenknecht is the only TBM company that has established a state-of-the-art TBM assembly and cutting tools manufacturing facility in Chennai, spread over 10 acres. We invested in India in the year 2007 whereas none of our competitions have invested so far in India. They provide only peripheral support to their machines. Indian customers have reposed their faith in Herrenknecht, which is evident from the fact that over 70 per cent of tunneling is done using Herrenknecht 90+ TBMs.
In tunneling, are there projects in which you see demand for tunneling under water? Have you been involved in any? What are the difficulties of tunneling under the water compared to above the ground?
In the past, the Indian authorities were generally paranoid going under water; however, there are now many projects planned to go under water. Tunneling under water-bodies like lakes, rivers and seas is quite common globally. In India, Herrenknecht has done projects which have involved crossing the sea creek, under lakes, sea outfall, etc.
Though tunneling under water is challenging in various aspects like, facing high water pressure (e.g. Lake Mead, USA, up to 19 bars), safety, transportation, muck disposal, assembling/dissembling of equipment, geological surprises are comparatively different when compared to ground. However, with the experience and TBM technological advancement, these challenges can be encountered successfully.
Can you talk to us about any ongoing project where you are bringing your technology expertise to make a difference?
Mumbai Metro Line3 project will have different geological challenges compared to other Metro Rail projects in India like Delhi, Chennai Metro, etc. We have provided a technological solution to contractors to meet these geological challenges in the safest way with optimal costs.
Can you give us any client testimonials in the Indian market for any of your products or services that have delivered good results from a technology viewpoint?
Contractors in India have done almost 70 per cent of TBM tunneling using Herrenknecht TBMs. This is a testimonial from our valued customers that they prefer Herrenknecht TBMs and services. The rest 30 per cent tunneling is shared between over 12 competitors.