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March 12, 2021

Extreme Protection for Extreme Tunneling Environments


Imagine that you spend your day digging tunnels for public utilities in various parts of the country. Electrical, gas, sewer and water, all necessary to basic everyday life.

How important would it be for you to complete your tunneling or boring operations successfully without having to stop for mechanical failure?

This is the daily situation for Super Excavators,, a Wisconsin, United States based contractor for microtunnelling, foundation work, slip lining, and open cut construction. Super Excavators performs jobs across North America. This wide geographical region brings challenges in aggregate profiles, from wet sands and silts, to cobbles, boulders and even solid bedrock.


During tunneling operations, the cutter head on the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) and Microtunnel Boring Machine (MTBM) rotates while the crusher cone remains stationary. Material gets crushed in the space between the two, as the machine moves through the strata. Waste material gets transported back to the surface through the holes in the cone.

The surface of both of these pieces of equipment is subjected to extreme pressure, and wear from abrasion and impact. Super Excavators turned to Castolin Eutectic to provide the best wear protection products for this valuable equipment.

Our EnDOTec DO*10 hardfacing wire is manually welded onto the cutter head and crusher cone surfaces in a pattern as a sacrificial protective layer. For the job to stay on track, this wearfacing layer must to be able to withstand these extreme conditions for the entire length of the tunnel.

Brian Strane, Tunneling Supervisor explained, “We look for a robust product that can withstand constant sand blasting type conditions 24/7 with impact on top of that, for a month at a time. We found that Castolin Eutectic’s DO*10 works the best for our combination of impact and abrasion”.

Super Excavators also uses Castolin Eutectic CDP 4624 and CDP 4666 carbide-rich wear plate on the high wear areas of their excavator buckets.

In this environment of constant wear, Castolin Eutectic and SuperEx are working together to continually improve the service life for this equipment, by testing the next toughest alloy in our arsenal. SuperEx applied both the old and new alloys to the cutter head, and will monitor for cracking and spalling, and then compare the final thickness of the two alloys. Always striving to continually improve performance in this successful partnership, will help carry Super Excavators into the future of excavation services.

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