Excavators, Machinery News

Sweden’s remote control Bobcat excavator

A Bobcat mini excavator has been modified with a number of features including remote control, for work on building ventilation shafts in Sweden

A 8.9-tonne Bobcat E88 mini excavator has been deployed on the Stockholm Bypass road tunnel project in Sweden and has been specifically modified for work in ventilation shafts.

Bobcat says the modifications were made to meet the special regulations of under underground works in the mining region in Kiruna in the north of Sweden.

The Stockholm Bypass project is one of Sweden’s largest infrastructure projects, which includes a series of underground motorway tunnels between the Kungens Kurva interchange in the south of Stockholm and the Häggvik interchange north of Stockholm. Most of this bypass, more than 17 out of 21km, is being built underground.

The bypass will become the world’s third longest road tunnel in the proximity of a city, after the Westconnex Tunnel in Sydney and the Yamate Tunnel in Tokyo. 140,000 vehicles per day are expected to use the bypass.

The Bobcat E88 in Stockholm was originally adapted to meet the special regulations of underground works in the mining region in Kiruna in the north of Sweden. The heavily modified E88 excavator was delivered to Bergteamet AB, a specialist shaft and tunnel contractor, for work on the tunnel’s ventilation shafts.

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As part of the modifications needed on the E88, it was decided that the ability to remote control the excavator was needed to increase the safety of both the work and the environment. The excavator also needed to be modified to protect it for working in the harsh environment of the underground vertical shafts.

Bergteamet has been using the Bobcat E88 to sink ventilation shafts for the Stockholm Bypass project. One of the first was at Lovön at Drottningholm outside Stockholm. The process used to construct the shafts begins with making a circular hole at ground level using blasting and hauling the material away.

The next step is to lift the E88 into place in the hole created at the top of the shaft, where the articulated boom allows the machine to fit in the shaft, from where, it can be remote controlled to manoeuvre it into a better position if needed. This includes the use of on-board cameras driven from a control room, away from any hazardous areas. The E88 is equipped with a tiltrotator, allowing it to be used with a breaker to remove loose material as well as an attachment for rock scaling work. It also has water connections for dust control.

With remote control, the machine can be lowered into ventilation shafts. Image: Doosan Bobcat EMEA
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