Three Kawasaki Earth Pressure Balanced Shield Machines Ordered for Bangkok MRT Orange Line Project

Feb. 23, 2018

Tokyo, February 23, 2018 — Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today its receipt of an order for three shield machines from Thailand's CKST Joint Venture.* The machines are to be used in tunnel construction for Bangkok's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system Orange Line. Kawasaki's responsibilities include the design, manufacture, and sea transport of the shield machines, which are scheduled to be delivered between February and August 2019.

The machines will be used for stage one (the east section) of the MRT Orange Line construction project (approx. 39.5 km in total), which is intended to ease traffic congestion in central Bangkok. A total of 12.3 km of tunnel will be excavated for the east bound and west bound tracks of the Contract E01 section (approx. 4.2 km) and Contract E02 section (approx. 2.0 km) of the project, with completion of tunneling scheduled for 2021. The equipment (diameter: 6.58 m) uses an earth pressure balanced design, which is effective for tunneling in the soft soils underneath Bangkok. Based on shield machine technologies, which are used for tunneling through soft soil layers, Kawasaki's machines excavate soil via a screw conveyor mechanism that enables preservation of groundwater pressure during excavated soil removal. They also feature increased cutter head rotation power to facilitate cutting of concrete piles remaining underground, as well as a special cutter design that enables replacement from behind the cutter head. Specifications were chosen based on the characteristics of the construction location.

With this latest order, Kawasaki has received orders for a total of 19 shield machines from Thailand (including 10 for the Bangkok MRT) to meet demand for projects such as MRT Blue Line construction and line extensions. Counting all shield and tunnel boring machines (TBMs) domestically and internationally, the company has received about 1,400 orders in total. Kawasaki earned this latest order thanks to high praise for its past tunnel boring achievements utilizing advanced technologies, carried out under challenging tunneling conditions.

Because Bangkok plans to continue underground construction work for projects such as stage two of the Orange Line and a Purple Line extension (approx. 23.6 km), Kawasaki anticipates additional shield machine orders from Thailand in the future. Singapore, India, Vietnam and countries in the Near and Middle East are also planning subway projects, meaning stable demand for tunnel boring machines will likely continue over the mid- and long term for the wider Asian market. Moving forward, Kawasaki will actively pursue expanded sales both in Japan and abroad for shield machines and TBMs.

* CKST Joint Venture
A joint venture between CH. Karnchang Public Company Limited and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Public Company Limited in Thailand. Each company undertake construction of railways, airports, expressways and so on.


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