The tough mole

Work underground is not just about mining. The drilling of subterranean ducts for the construction of roads or canals is just as strenuous as the extraction of mineral resources. SPANGLER has now automated a remote control for tunnel boring machines.

Working at the drill head

On conventional tunnel boring machines, the machine operator sits directly on-site in the machine. Only there does he have a complete overview, but he is exposed to flying abrasion and ground water seepage. This human workplace is too dangerous for drilling in rock and at a ground water pressure of 1.5 bar.

Under the eyes of six cameras

With the remote control from SPANGLER Automation, six cameras sit at the drill head instead of the machine operator. A fibre optic cable transmits the images as light signals to the control position, which is 1.2 kilometres away. Three receivers receive the signals from the remote control and forward them to the controller.


All components are so robust that they can also withstand the harsh underground conditions in the long term. Safety is the top priority: In the event of an incident, either only the drill head or the entire system is switched off.