The use of process simulation module can be benefit for planning and operating a microtunnelling project. Thereby, problems at different construction phases can be anticipated and analyzed. Moreover, it has potential to optimize usage of resources, to develop better project plans, to minimize costs or project duration, to improve overall construction project management and to avoid costly mistakes. This research presents an approach for analyzing construction operations with Microtunnel Boring Machines (MTBM) utilizing process simulation module. It helps to analyze the processes and to identify the influence of disturbances on the productivity of MTBM operations. In view of these objectives, the MiSAS (Microtunnelling: Statistics, Analysis and Simulation) module is introduced and applied. The MiSAS simulation module allows to evaluate the impact of the disturbances and predict the resulting tunnel advance rate. Within the paper an actual microtunnelling projects at the city of Recklinghausen, Germany, is used for the case study.

1. Introduction

Microtunnelling operations involve a complex interaction of processes and the productivity is affected by disturbances, such as weather, limited space, staff absenteeism, regulatory requirements, design changes and reworks. Hence, there is a need for a better understanding the disturbances influencing productivity. The efficiency of MTBM will be increased by that knowledge.

The use of simulation module is a widely used tool for the design, analysis and optimization of technical processes. In general, the simulation model can help to analyze causes for delay, bottlenecks and reduction of productivity during construction operations. Since the early 1990s until 2000, a number of simulation systems and simulation applications were used. Liu and Ioannou (1992) developed a simulation module, called COOPS. The COOPS module are defined via a graphical user interface where the simulator can capture resources, define different resources and can link with the calendars that can be used to pre-empt activities during work breaks. Odeh et al. (1992) and Tommelein et al. (1994) developed an module, named CIPROS. The CIPROS enables the user to relate construction plans and specifications to a construction plan. McCahill and Bernold (1993) developed a general purpose module called STEPS with a library consisting of standard models for common construction processes. Martinez (1996) introduced STROBOSCOPE. STROBOSCOPE is used in the analysis of construction operations. It is designed for modeling complex construction operations in detail and for the development of special purpose simulation tools.

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