How the “tatuzão” builds the tunnels of the Sao Paulo subways

The civil construction impacts our lives all the time. We use almost every day public transport, bridges, tunnels, roads, airports and a infinite of great works that shorten distances and facilitate the routine. But how many of us really know how all the buildings are made?
One of the most important OAS projects underway in São Paulo is the Metro Line 5 Lilac. In this project the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) of the EPB Shield type was used, which was given the nickname "Tatuzão". This is because the machine drills the subsoil and gives rise to the tunnels through which they will pass as compositions of the train. The process, even involving a team of experts, is quite simple to understand. 
What is it?
The "Tatuzão" is a cylindrical machine that digs tunnels in any type of soil, even rock, by its cutting wheel, through special tools to cut the ground. The equipment is 10.58 meters in diameter, 75 meters in length and about weighs 1,900 tons.
How it works?
The machine carries out the process called mechanized encapsulation in two stages: excavation and ring´s assembly. After completion of the excavation stage, which corresponds to an advance of one and a half meters, the ring is mounted inside the machine, guaranteeing the stability of the newly excavated massif. The volume of excavated material is controlled to ensure soil stability while maintaining a balance between soil pressure and excavation pressure.
The rings made of reinforced concrete that are manufactured in a separated unit for this purpose, are transported by carts to support of the "Tatuzão".
And there's much more
To build a tunnel the “Tatuzão” is not enough. The construction site is fundamental to give operating conditions to all the machinery. To know more details about the structure of the work and the constructive method of Shield watch this explanatory video.

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