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Plant: October 2009

In an interview in this month’s NCE plant special, Dr Martin Herrenknecht, founder of his eponymous tunnel boring machine company, asserts that “the country that has the best infrastructure will have the best future”. Which is why nations like India, China and Brazil are investing so much in new road, rail, water and sewerage systems.

The challenge, of course, is to find ways to deliver this vital infrastructure more efficiently, safely and with minimum
negative impact on the environment. And that’s where an integrated civil engineering supply chain can really make its mark.

Consultants, clients, contractors and suppliers working together can thrash out solutions that may be beyond the capability of any one party on its own. When it comes to innovative solutions, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.


The challenge is to find ways to deliver vital infrastructure more efficiently, safely and with minimum negative impact on the environment


This is clearly evident in this month’s plant special site report from Dymchurch in Kent, where early contractor involvement led to a rethink of the way new sea defences are built. Crucial to that process was an awareness of the equipment that was available to the market, and the way it could be adapted for this project.

In this instance the entire design was changed so that the contractor could use a large mobile crane, which is making the job far more efficient - and giving the locals some impressive equipment to watch.

The special also features that interview with Dr Herrenknecht, who talked to NCE just after one of his tunnelling machines broke through at the end of a section of the world’s longest railway tunnel. Not surprisingly, he’s got his eye on the Crossrail tunnels, but, with 160 of his company’s machines working in China alone, he is also aware of the importance of infrastructure throughout the world.

Look out next month for a special report on plant in the rail sector.

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