Tianhe Mechanical Equipment Manufacturing Co. ltd

Dec 15, 2016

Tianhe Mechanical Equipment Manufacturing Co. ltd

Even if the Chinese economy is showing signs of slowing down, the country continues its development, driven by the transfer of more and more people to large cities. This situation drives infrastructure investments, including public transportation.

This is why the demand for subway construction remains strong, pulled by large and mid-size cities that want to offer an efficient public transportation system to their inhabitants, bringing more activity by improving the traffic conditions. For example, the city of Beijing is planning to build 12 new subway lines within the next five years, to reach a distance of almost 1.000 km.


TIANHE, a state-owned company, is one of the leaders in China for manufacturing of tunnel boring machines. The company has produced 105 machines since 2002, when the company started to manufacture its first machines for the Japanese market.

Today, TIANHE produces more than 20 tunnel boring machines per year in its factory, located in Changshu (North-West of Shanghaï), with the target to raise capacity after completion of a new building, in order to satisfy the significant domestic demand.

Looking at the tunnel boring machine itself, there are three main functions which can be operated by hydraulic motors: the cutting drive (rotation of the shield), the auger drive (the screw that is conveying the extracted soil) and the erector rotation drive (positioning of the tunnel segments).

Main functions of Tunnel Boring Machines using Hydraulic Motors


According to M. Zhang Tianju, Deputy Director for R&D, the decision to select Poclain Hydraulics motors for the auger drive and the erector rotation was justified by Poclain Hydraulics’ strong experience in this market as well as several references, especially in Japan, for more than 20 years.
Based on the machine size (mostly between 6 and 9 meters) and required torque, the design teams selected the MS35 (up to 4,200cc displacement, pressure up to 450bar) and the MS50 (up to 6,000cc and 450bar) motors for these two functions.

As shown in the photos, in order to provide sufficient torque, each function can be driven by several motors at the same time: 

An additional reason for the choice of the MS motor was its modularity with the possibility to adapt a parking brake to hold the motor shaft in position, which is required for the erector rotation.
Last but not least, M. Zhang Tianju emphasized the extreme reliability offered by Poclain Hydraulics’ components, because these motors can run flawlessly for more than ten years, giving them the opportunity to re-use them when building a new tunnel boring machine and helping accelerate the return on investment for end users.
With more than several hundred motors supplied each year for tunnel boring machines across the world, Poclain Hydraulics is a leader in this industry.

More information about Tunnel Boring Machine