The first TBM project executed in Norway dates back to 1967. It was called promising, in spite of low penetration and high costs. Later TBM development is closely connected to the development of high performance machines, increased thrust per cutter and improved bit technology. James S. Robbins and Robbins machines played an important role in this process. It should also be mentioned that the first attempt to construct a TBM in Norway was made in 1922 by Mr. I. B°hn. He held a patent since 1917 and brought his machine as far as to the testing stage.
The underground has been utilised during centuries also in this country. Systematic mining of ores and minerals in Norway dates back to the sixteenth century. Being a mountainous region, tunnelling was in second hand closely linked to the development of communications. Our tunnelling for railroads started in the latter part of the 19th century. Thanks to the topography, precipitation and water storing possibilities, and the need for energy, hydropower development has been an important construction segment from 1945 up to say 1990. A major part of our TBM-operations were linked to this development from 1965 onwards. Additional tunnelling for water supply and sewage handling has also been of importance during the same period, whereas road tunnels always used to play a less important part of the TBM market.
Due to a combination of rock quality, well developed drilling equipment, qualified tunnellers and well trained designers, Norway used to be a typical źdrill and blast╗-country. A competitive market situation, however, is the golden key to new cost efficient methods. Thus hard rock tunnel boring was introduced and during the years, through close co-operation between suppliers and contractors, the method was honed to perfection.