IPOH: MMC Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd (MGKT) will spend over RM100 million on refurbishing and upgrading its tunnel boring machines (TBMs).
The 50:50 joint venture between MMC Corp Bhd and Gamuda Bhd is the underground work package contractor for the mass rapid transit (MRT) project Line 1.
MGKT head of tunnelling Ng Hau Wei said the refurbishment and modification works of the TBMs are in preparation for its next tunnelling job.
“We estimate the amount of direct works will cost over RM100 million,” he told a media briefing here at their refurbishment plant here, yesterday.
He said the works included the storage and preservation of the TBMs that cost over RM40 million each.
“Hence, proper care has to be accorded to ensure they can be used again to lower our cost in our next tunnelling work,” he said.
According to Ng, MGKT will partner German firm Herrenknecht AG to undertake the necessary works for 10 TBMs, the same ones which were deployed for MRT Line 1. Herrenknecht AG is the designer and manufacturer of the TBMs.
Under the agreement, Herrenknecht will collaborate with local steel works and heavy engineering specialist Waiko Engineering Works Sdn Bhd to jointly carry out the machine refurbishment works.
Apart from restoration and repair, the used variable density TBMs will be upgraded, while the earth pressure balance TBMs will be modified and converted into the former.
As to how many will be converted, Ng said it will depend on the next job description.
“For now, the first equipment for the first upgraded variable density TBM has been procured,” he said, noting it is expected to arrive by the middle of next year.
He said experimental works will be carried out once the equipment arrives, including a series of workshop trials to proof test the design upgrades for the machines.
“This is one of our initiatives to get ourselves ready for any eventualities, so that we can move quickly and readily for any tunnelling jobs we may get,” he remarked.
Looking ahead, Ng foresees the tunnelling business in the Southeast Asian region will grow and he said MGKT is looking for more tunnelling jobs.
“It is definitely growing if you look at Malaysia and Singapore, and even at Hong Kong. We hope the trend will be positive from now on,” he said.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 18, 2014.