Second tunnel boring machine AMELI powers up
On 11 January 2011, the second tunnel boring machine for the European XFEL powered up. It was christened on 21 December 2010 together with the tunnel sections it is to build.
There are now two tunnel boring machines in operation for the European XFEL. On 11 January 2011, the smaller machine dug into the wall of its launch shaft, the construction pit of the future experiment hall, and then into the Schenefeld soil. Until summer 2012, the machine with the pretty name AMELI (German acronym for “At the end (there will be) light”) will construct a total of eight tunnel sections under the future research campus in Schenefeld (Schleswig-Holstein).
With an external diameter of 5.48 metres, a length of 84 metres and a weight of 500 tonnes, AMELI is a bit smaller than its sister TULA. It will excavate the “tunnel fan” under the future research campus of the European XFEL in Schenefeld. Starting from the construction pit of the experiment hall, it will drill eight tunnel sections with an internal diameter of 4.60 metres. Even for experienced tunnel builders, constructing so many short tunnel sections is a major challenge. The colossal machine has to be disassembled four times, transported back to its new launch point inside the future experiment hall, and re-assembled again. A further three times, it will be moved through an existing open shaft to start boring again on the opposite side of the shaft. The machine had to be designed especially for this purpose.
Like its “big sister” TULA, which started boring at the beginning of July 2010, the second machine was officially christened before boring began, together with the tunnel sections it is going to build. Around 250 guests – tunnel builders, staff members of European XFEL GmbH and DESY, and numerous guests from politics and science – gathered for the celebration on 21 December in a heated tent next to the tunnel boring machine inside the construction pit of the future experiment hall.
The patroness of the tunnel sections excavated by AMELI is Dr. Cordelia Andreßen, Secretary of State for Science, Economic Affairs and Transport of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. According to the old miners’ tradition, the tunnels bear her first name (Cordelia tunnels). She is assisted by the patroness of the tunnel boring machine, Schenefeld Mayor Christiane Küchenhof, who announced the name of the machine. As with TULA, the ceremony also included an oecumenical service featuring the blessing of a wooden statue of Saint Barbara, which was then put up in a shrine on the tunnel wall. As patron saint of the miners and tunnel builders, she is said to protect the workers from the dangers connected with their labour. For the duration of the tunnel construction, the tunnel patroness, State Secretary Andreßen, is regarded as the earthly representative of Saint Barbara.
The tradition of tunnel and borer christening and the programme of the tunnel celebration
You can follow the progress of the tunnel boring machines TULA and AMELI online at our construction progress site