To main content


The main objective in the project FAST-Tunn - Future Advanced Steel Technology for Tunneling - is to develop more efficient cutter rings for Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) used in hard rock formations, and improve the capabilities of the NTNU model for performance prediction of tunneling operations in Norway. The project is financed by the BIA-program of Norway's Research Council.

Cutter rings of a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). Photo: The Robbins Company

Norwegian rock is part of the Fennoscandian Shield and consists of mainly Precambrian gneisses, which are commonly referred to as hard rock. Boring and tunneling operations in hard rock are typically associated with low penetration rates, high tool wear and frequent cutter ring failures, which significantly influences the costs of these projects. Minimizing cutter wear and failures, as well as predicting these problems at the planning stage, are all extremely important.

Within the project FAST-Tunn will new alloys and designs for cutter steels be introduced, and current models for performance prediction and wear will be improved. This will be achieved by improving the understanding of the physical processes in rock/cutter interaction, making use of advanced numerical simulations and state-of-the-art experimental techniques.


  • The Robbins Company: Manufacturer of TBMs
  • Norwegian National Rail Administration: Responsible for Rail network development
  • Norwegian Public Roads Administration: Responsible for Road network development
  • BMS steel: Cast house for manufacturing of parts
  • Scana Steel Stavanger: Producer of wear resistant steels
  • Leonhard Nilsen & Sønner: Constructer of roads and tunnels
  • Babendererde Engineers: Consulting company specialised in mechanised tunnelling
  • NTNU Engineering Geology and Minerals: Research partner
  • NTNU Civil and Transport Engineering: Research partner
  • SINTEF Building and Infrastructure: Research partner
  • SINTEF Materials and Chemistry: Research partner
  • SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing: Research partner

Key Factors

Project duration

01/01/2011 - 31/12/2015

Explore research areas