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Challenges in Tunneling Works

Tunnels provide a variety of challenges. The types of work which our equipment is suited for includes

  • boundary cutting during excavation of new tunnels
  • repairs and refurbishment
  • widening and modification
  • trenching for services
  • Enclosed Spaces

    The nature of tunnels is that they are enclosed spaces, so the size of the equipment may be limited, and the cutting may be at any angle. They also tend to be long.

    The first issue means that attachments used should be selected to maximise productivity, by completely utilising the power available from the excavator. The high performance rocksaws from Echidna's High Speed and High Power series provide this opportunity.

    Cutting horizontally requires the operator to be able to choose the direction of blade spin. If the blade spins the wrong way, it pulls into the cut and jambs. All of our rocksaws come with reversible blade spin.

    Cutting at other angles is impossible without additional equipment. Echidna makes standard and custom built rotators, tilts, rails and telescopic arms that allow a great deal of flexibility in cutting at angles.


    Modification of existing tunnels can cause damage to existing structures, due to vibration. Diamond rocksaws cut smoothly and are far less likely to cause damage. Rock saw cuts are an effective way of limiting the propagation of vibrations, in many cases allowing hammers to be used without damage.

    Services trenches may be required to run the length of a tunnel. Sometimes for many kilometres.

    For tunnels with a level floor, a rail mounted, self propelled system, such as our CS5 may be a good solution. Such systems offer high precision, maximum productivity. They can be customised to cut at angles, and with dual blades. Being fully automated once set up, these cutting systems do not suffer from fatigue or boredom, and the result is faster cutting with much reduced blade wear and lower operator costs.


    Safety, access and visibility are other factors to consider for work in tunnels. Echidna builds remote controlled machines - stand-alone or as excavator attachments. Remote operation can allow the attachment to be applied with precision, while keeping personnel well away from the cutting zone.

    Case Studies

    Multi-axis Cuttting Head for Removal of Tunnel Lining

    Recommended Equipment

    Diamond Rocksaws
    NEW Omnicut Rocksaws
    Rotators and Tilts
    Multi-Axis Tunnel System
    Offset Extension
    Cutting heads
    Excavator Wall Saw
    CS5 System

    Other Applications



    • fast, minimal damage, precision trenches from 26mm width


    • sandstone, marble, granite, limestone, basalt...
    • cut dimensional stone directly in quarry
    • multi blade saws for precision blocks


    • footings, trenches, basements, carparks, swimming pools and more
    • boundary wall cutting
    • minimise vibration in sensitive areas
    • re-use cut material for retaining walls
    • optical fibre, plumbing, electricity trenches
    Tight Access Excavation

    Tight Access Excavation

    • underhouse excavations
    • difficult access locations
    • swimming pool installation/demolition in backyards
    • rocksaws, stump grinders and rock grinders for excavators down to 1 tonne
    Concrete Cutting & Demolition

    Concrete Cutting & Demolition

    • reinforced concrete structures
    • swimming pools
    • aircraft
    • pre-fabricated buildings


    • small scale mining operations
    • mine site infrastructure
    • extract blocks for processing


    • trenches for services
    • finishing walls
    • slots for services in tunnel walls


    • stump grinder
    • firewood
    • milling logs
    • brush cutting


    • shape blocks for retaining walls, paths, stairs
    • trim trees
    • modify and remove concrete
    • grind stumps
    Cutting Metal

    Cutting Metal

    cutting steel with echidna excavator rocksaw


    cut metals, plastics, fibreglass, rubber and more for handling and recycling