During the WTC 2013, in Geneva, the 4th Muir Wood Lecture has been given by Richard Robbins.
The title of the lecture was : "A tradition of Innovation - The next push for machine tunnelling"
In his Introduction, Dick Robbins noted : "As a relatively mature industry, the world of machine tunneling is more conservative than it once was. While there is a place for standardized machinery and design elements on many projects, some projects require ingenuity and a progressive approach. Challenging and risky projects will always be a part of our industry and stepping out of the comfort zone of standardized technology on these tunnels is part of achieving success. The effect of industry-wide conservatism is often the outcome of an effort to drive down risk, whether that is through contractual practices, industry regulations, or standardized technologies. However, all parties from contractor to equipment supplier to the project owner can be successful with challenging projects so long as the risks have been properly and fairly allocated. The industry has already made large advances from its infancy in the 1950s and 1960s. Jobs that were once considered high risk are now standard—a trend that is particularly pronounced in mixed and soft ground. Today’s Earth Pressure Balance (EPB) and Slurry Tunneling Machines provide the opportunity for machine tunneling in more complex geology than ever before, and as the conditions get more complex there will be more opportunities for taking risks and using new technology. The potential of our industry is great, and we have the chance to build tunnels now that were never possible in the past. This possibility is what is most exciting"