Expert System for Applicability of Tunnel Boring Machines in Japan

1. Introduction

2. TBM tunneling using a disc cutter

3. Expert System

4. Discussion

5. Conclusion



This report outlines the development of a new expert system for assessing the applicability of tunnel boring machine (TBM) tunneling in Japan. Although a great deal of research on TBMs have been published, and the applicability of TBMs has been discussed, considerable differences in opinion still exist between authors. In this paper, we review previous studies and outline the present situation with a particular focused on disc cutter TBMs. Based on the knowledge acquired, we present an expert system for the applicability of TBMs, to be used in pre-feasibility studies. Originally, we planned to construct the expert system on the basis of unified knowledge or rules without contradictions. However it was found after several attempts that it is very difficult to unify knowledge because opinions vary considerably and TBMs are under continuous development. As a result, the expert system was divided into three stages. In stage A, the fulfillment of fundamental requirements is checked. Stage B is a simple expert system consisting of a minimal set of suitable rules as judged by the authors. Stage C incorporates the opinions of various other experts and the over-simplified and omitted points in stage B. The system is applied to 18 tunnels in Japan, and while the results provided by the expert system can certainly be improved, the method for accumulating knowledge and rules makes the system simple and easy to use, with very large scope for improvement and expansion.