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The one hundredth Sandvik MT720 produced goes to work on Transport for NSW’s M6 Stage 1 in Sydney with unique gold livery.

The one hundredth Sandvik MT720 produced goes to work on Transport for NSW’s M6 Stage 1 in Sydney with unique gold livery.

The one hundredth MT720 roadheader to be produced by Sandvik has gone to work in Sydney for Transport for NSW, where it is helping to create a vital transport link in the city’s south.

The 135-tonne rock cutter was recently delivered to the joint venture developing the M6 Stage 1, twin four-kilometre tunnels that will link Sydney’s south to the wider motorway network. The roadheader has since been commissioned and has been put to work excavating the main line, the long straight sections of the tunnels.

The cabin and cutter head of the MT720 were painted gold ahead of delivery in recognition of the milestone, a colour scheme that has earned it the nickname ‘Goldfinger’.

“We’re delighted that the one hundredth Sandvik MT720 produced has come to work at M6 Stage 1,” tunnel construction director Daniel Backhouse said.

“It has joined Sandvik’s MT720 number 98, which was delivered earlier in 2022, and it’s one of five Sandvik roadheaders that we expect to use on the project. The MT720s are performing well, and we are making excellent progress on the tunnelling since commencing in February 2022.”

Proven performer

Backhouse said with meeting deadlines and delivering on time a major priority for the joint venture, it is essential that the roadheaders used are reliable, efficient and provide exceptional utilisation.

“The Sandvik MT720 has proven itself time and time again on major infrastructure projects,” Blackhouse said.

“The cutter is robust, and the machine helps us achieve the excavation rates we want while also maintaining extremely high levels of safety and operator comfort.”

The joint venture delivering the M6 Stage 1 consists of CIMIC Group’s CPB Contractors and UGL along with Ghella. The project is set to open to traffic in late 2025.

Stand-out features

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ product specialist for roadheaders, Daniel Pickles, said the Sandvik MT720 has a range of features that make it ideal for urban infrastructure projects like the M6 Stage 1.

“The MT720 is the flagship of the Sandvik roadheader range and it has been used on just about every major tunnel infrastructure project in Sydney in recent years,” Pickles said.

“It is engineered to cut hard and abrasive rock with a compressive strength of up to 140 MPa, which means it can easily deal with Sydney sandstone with a strength of 40 to 50 MPa. Its throughput is a lot higher than almost all its competitors.”

The MT720 is electrically powered and features a transverse cutter head mounted on a robust telescopic boom. This delivers optimum cutting power, and high productivity and energy efficiency, which in turn lowers operating costs.

Pickles said the closed, FOPS-approved operator’s cabin delivers maximum levels of operator comfort and safety.

“The cabin is fully pressurized and air conditioned and the operator seat is ergonomically positioned for ease of operation,” Pickles said.

“Two arm controls are all that’s needed to operate the complete machine.”

The MT720 has a maximum cutting height of 6.6 metres, a cutting width of 9.1 metres, and a maximum tram speed of 15 metres per minute.

Sandvik Cutronic ready

The Sandvik MT720 can also be used in combination with Cutronic, Sandvik’s semi-automated cutting system for increasing productivity and improving mechanical cutting accuracy. Some of Cutronic’s key features include a cutting-path planning system that helps plan and optimise how a cross-section is cut, and a fast-profiling tool to enhance accuracy in tunnelling applications.

Pickles said Sandvik is preparing to implement the Cutronic System at the M6 Stage 1 Project and ready to assist future joint ventures as they continue to improve infrastructure in major Australian cities.

“Sandvik has an industry-leading understanding of the underground environment, and we are working hard to continually improve our offering to help customers become more efficient and profitable,” Pickles said.