• Combined expertise: electric motors from ELIN Motoren with integrated Voith SafeSet/SmartSet for the safe operation of the drive train of tunnel boring machines (TBMs)
  • Weight reduction of more than 80% compared with previous safety couplings minimizes rotor inertia and bearing loads of drive train
  • Brief system-induced torque peaks are absorbed by means of “micro-slipping” and do not cause TBM downtime

Weiz/Heidenheim, May 9, 2023 – ELIN Motoren and Voith launch the first electric motor with integrated safety coupling for the main drive of tunnel boring machines. Water-cooled asynchronous motors from ELIN Motoren contain either the Voith SafeSet to safeguard the entire drive train or the Voith SmartSet for continuous operation, even with frequent torque peaks. Torque limitation increases the productivity of the TBM, protects the machine components, and avoids costly downtimes.

Depending on size and geology, the cutting head of a TBM is powered by between 4 and 24 drive units. These drive trains consist of a pinion, planetary gear unit, torsion shaft, safety coupling, and electric motor and represent the heart of a TBM that should be protected. Clogging in the cutting head causes a sudden torque much higher than the maximum permissible torque with which the drive train is rated. As it is activated at a predefined torque, the integrated safety coupling in the new MKH-SafeSet and MKH-SmartSet electric motors from ELIN Motoren accurately and reliably protects all the drive train components of tunnel boring machines. A triggered coupling can be re-activated within just a few minutes. If only a few couplings are released, the TBM can continue to tunnel until the next maintenance shift.

The weight of the new Voith SafeSet has been reduced by more than 80% and is only around 15% of that of conventional safety couplings. A lower mass minimizes rotor inertia and the bearing loads of the drive train, which improves efficiency and achieves lower temperatures, thus extending the service life of the drive train.

The MKH-SmartSet is an optional add-on to the MKH-SafeSet and allows continuous tunneling despite any torque peaks that are non-critical for the drive train. Adding a SmartSet results in an automatic reset if the TMB slows down or comes to a stop which allows continuous operation, even if the frequency of high torque load peaks increases, which positively affects the productivity of the TBM.

“Partnering with ELIN Motoren, we have a powerful new to-the-market technical solution that will transform the tunneling boring market segment,” confirms Per-Olof Berg, Product Management Torque Limiting and Connection Couplings at Voith and adds: “The new MKH-SafeSet and MKH-SmartSet is a further development of the well-known SafeSet portfolio which is in operation on thousands of ELIN Motoren cutter head motors. The new MKH-SmartSet instantly shaves the torque peak and protects the drive without releasing. Furthermore, MKH-SafeSet, with the coupling integrated into the cutter head motors from ELIN Motoren, is the perfect lightweight and compact solution for tunnel boring machines that do not need peak shaving and automatic resetting.”

“The pooling of the expertise of ELIN Motoren and Voith offers manufacturers of tunnel boring machines a powerful yet safe technical solution from a single source,” says Markus Frickh, Key Account Manager at ELIN Motoren. “As a manufacturer of customized electric motors, we aim to offer products that meet the stringent individual requirements in the mechanized tunneling segment.”

About ELIN Motoren

ELIN Motoren manufactures electric motors and generators in small series and custom solutions for industrial applications. We focus on electric machinery and low-, medium- and high-voltage motors and generators intended for wind power, plastics, tunneling and mining, oil and gas, plant engineering, and power plant markets. ELIN Motoren GmbH employs around 1,100 people and generates around EUR 120 million in revenues. Since 2021, ELIN Motoren has been part of the Voith Group. www.elinmotoren.com

Press contact ELIN Motoren:

Silke Plank
Elin-Motoren-Straße 1
8160 Preding/Weiz
Tel: +43 3172 90 606 – 3400

About the Voith Group

The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the energy, paper, raw materials, transport & automotive markets. Founded in 1867, the company today has around 20,000 employees, sales of € 4.3 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe. The Group Division Voith Turbo is part of the Voith Group and is a specialist for intelligent drive technology, systems as well as tailor-made services. With its innovative and smart products, Voith offers highest efficiency and reliability. Customers from highly diverse industries such as oil and gas, energy, mining and mechanical engineering, ship technology, rail and commercial vehicles rely on the advanced technologies and digital applications of Voith. www.voith.com

Press contact Voith:

Katja Stutzmiller
St. Poeltener Strasse 43
89522 Heidenheim, Germany
Tel: +49 7321 37-9294