First tunnel boring machine for SSP MRT line is set for action

Satisfied that it works, even when used before. From left, MRTC's director of strategic communications Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah, Pearce, Satpal, and Ng Hau Wei, MGKT's head of tunnels.

KUALA LUMPUR: The first of 12 tunnel boring machines to be used for Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd’s (MRT Corp) Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) Line -- a refurbished machine previously used for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line -- is ready for action.

MRT Corp and MMC-Gamuda KVRMT (T) Sdn Bhd (MGKT) said in a joint statement that the machine would be the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) to be used for the SSP Line’s 13.5km underground section.

MGKT, the underground works contractor for the line, has completed the factory acceptance test (FAT) for the TBM.

“The FAT is one of the many steps which our underground works contractor has to take in preparation to carry out tunnelling and other underground works for the project,” MRT Corp director of strategic communications and stakeholder relations Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah said during a visit to the Waiko Engineering Sdn Bhd factory in Pusing, Perak, on Thursday to mark the completion of the FAT.

The TBM underwent refurbishment at the factory, which was another first for Malaysia after being the first in the world to use the innovative variable density TBM on the SBK Line. It took six months to refurbish the first TBM, and MGKT will spend more than RM100mil to refurbish all eight TBMs used for the SBK Line works.

This particular TBM was incidentally the one launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on May 30, 2013, to mark the start of tunnelling works for the SBK Line. The machine had excavated 4.2km of tunnel -- the longest of the eight TBMs used for the SBK Line -- before breaking through at the Pasar Seni MRT station on April 4, 2015.

MRT Corp director of SSP Line underground works, Blaise Mark Pearce, said MRT Corp was satisfied with the FAT and overall refurbishment of the TBM.

“By using refurbished TBMs, we are not only getting significant savings for the SSP Line; we are also going to be using TBMs which we are all very familiar with and know well how they will perform,” he said.

The TBM refurbishment plant at Waiko Engineering was set up in 2015 as one of the initiatives of the MRT Project Offset Programme, which provides the platform to develop high technology in Malaysia through cooperation with foreign contractors and suppliers.

About 70% of the parts used were locally manufactured and almost RM50mil worth of local parts would be procured from the local supply chain throughout the two-year refurbishment programme, MGKT project director Satpal S. Bhogal said.

In addition, more than 50 jobs including mechanics, electricians and specialist welders, and 100 more short to medium-term vocational technicians would be created under the programme, he said.


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