Tunnel Factory: pooling our expertise in tunnel construction

At the end of 2018, a cross-functional R&D hub dedicated to the performance of our underground works was set up within VINCI Construction, called the Tunnel Factory.


Underground works are a very important challenge for the Group, which ranks as a world leader in this segment. VINCI Construction Grands Projets, Bessac, Dodin Campenon Bernard, VINCI Construction France and Sixense decided to pool their expertise within a joint entity, in order to boost innovation in tunnel construction.



Tunnels/ travaux souterrains/ ouvrages souterrains/ innovation tunnel


The Tunnel Factory aims to create a network of dedicated expert employees and partners, in order to increase the value of our solutions, improve our profitability and enhance the safety of our tunnel projects.

To do this, a full-time team of four people works on these many and varied projects, along with around 15 employees from other entities who provide part-time support.

Their role is to:

  • Propose and develop R&D projects,
  • Roll out innovations within entities,
  • Provide support to R&D projects,
  • Manage patents,

Their specialist areas: equipment and processes, data and artificial intelligence, geotechnics and geophysics, and ultra-low carbon technology.

Several innovations have so far emerged as a result of this collaboration:

  • ring building assistant and robotized segment handling,
  • automated ducts extension,
  • slurry pipes obturator,
  • off-board troubleshooting system,
  • optimize tunneling logistics, automatic shift reports,
  • tools set for TBM pilot assistance (excavated soil image analysis, clogging detection, excavation chamber level indicator, forward ground condition),
  • ultra-low carbon FRC segments and pipes.
Fullscreen picture TF-Plaquette-de-présentation

To mark the third anniversary of the Tunnel Factory, on 9 September all the teams met at the Bessac site in Saint-Jory to review the past few years and the progress achieved, as well as the Tunnel Factory’s ambitions in the field of underground works. Stands hosted events including talks, workshops and presentations of the latest innovations. A fantastic day, attended by Pierre Anjolras (Chairman of VINCI Construction), Manuel Peltier (Chairman of Soletanche Freyssinet), Stéphane Abry (Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Soletanche Bachy), Patrick Kadri (VINCI Construction Chief Executive Officer in charge of the Major projects Division) and Gilles Godard (VINCI Construction Chief Executive Officer in charge of the United Kingdom Division).

Fullscreen picture 7758©LaurentBarranco