The Pipe Express Method

Published: October 7, 2019 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does The Pipe Express Method Mean?

The pipe express method is a semi-trenchless, environmentally friendly pipe installation method that helps speed-up pipeline construction. It is a relatively new method in the trenchless industry for the near-surface installation of pipelines of lengths up to 1000 meters and diameters from 800 mm to 1500 mm.

The pipe express method was developed by Herrenknecht, and set new standards for the installation of pipelines over long distances.


Trenchlesspedia Explains The Pipe Express Method

The pipe express method combines the use of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) and a compact trenching unit. A launch pit is dug at the point where the pipe will enter the soil and houses a pipe thruster and TBM. The trenching unit is attached to a buggy that makes a narrow trench (width approx. 40 cm) on the soil.

The actual tunnel is below the trench and is excavated by the TBM. The excavated soil from the TBM is brought up by the trenching unit and is backfilled behind the machine as the installation progresses.

The pipe thruster pushes the pipe as well as the TBM through the soil till the installation is complete and the unit exits at the receiving pit.

This pipe express method consumes about 70% lesser ground space than open trenching, and the entire process is remote controlled and guided by a trained operator.

The pipe express method was first used in the Netherlands in November 2012 for installing a 48”, 1600 feet gas pipeline.


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