Rail tunnel construction

Rail tunnel construction

Commissioned by: CEI - De Meyer
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Special construction techniques are being used for the construction of the Schuman-Josaphat rail tunnel in the centre of Brussels. Commissioned by CEI - De Meyer, Holmatro supplied a PLC-controlled hydraulic Synchronized Positioning System.


During the construction of the Schuman-Josaphat rail tunnel in the centre of Brussels, 26 concrete rail casings were immediately placed on site in the tunnel shafts. After hardening, the concrete colossi measuring 90 metres in length and weighing 400 tons needed to be lifted in order to place vibration dampers underneath and to build bridge supports.


Rail tunnel construction

The route of the tunnel bisects the heart of the European district, with a significant number of existing buildings, including the Berlaymont building – the head office of the European Commission – another rail tunnel and various historic residences. CEI - De Meyer, a subsidiary of the Koninklijke BAM Group and responsible for a number of activities, including placement of the concrete tunnel elements, had to make a choice – manual or computerized? The company already possesses the jacking know-how. Working completely manually is time-consuming and less accurate, which is why a computer-controlled system was preferred. Preconditions for this were that the system must be flexibly deployable and that it must still be functional after this project, in view of the investment made. After the required preliminary study, Holmatro was awarded the assignment to develop and deliver a complete, computer-controlled system. During the development process, the Holmatro engineers worked closely with the jacking specialists of CEI de Meyer in order to produce this completely customized solution.


Rail tunnel construction

The Synchronized Positioning System (also called Synchronous Lifting System or Synchronous Jacking System) is a combination of high-pressure hydraulics and digital control. The software creates an intuitive configuration and ensures extremely safe operation. Feedback from multiple sensors in the system is immediately converted into extremely accurate control of the pumps. The mobile pump units can also be operated separately and manually if necessary or desired. Besides the basic functionalities of positioning, aligning, lifting, lowering and weighing, the system is suitable for tilting applications and it is also possible to work with step cylinders instead of standard cylinders.

Read more about the Synchronized Positioning System or watch the system in action:

Would you like to know more about this project? Contact us via e-mail industry@holmatro.com or call +31 (0)162 751500.

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