Connecting Tunnel Construction Sites With a Single System

Connecting Tunnel Construction Sites With a Single System!

Trust AIPHONE for Communication in Tunnel Construction!

In tunnel constructions, such as roads and railways, there is a high risk of industrial accidents, including collapses that lead to occupational hazards, making communication equipment at construction sites essential. We would like to introduce examples where IP network-compatible intercoms from AIPHONE were utilized instead of traditional telephone systems for emergency communication and operational coordination.


  • Background
  • Challenges
  • Solving Challenges at Excavation Sites with the IX System
  • Three Essential Features at the Construction Sites


At tunnel construction sites, including road and railways worldwide regardless of regions, there is always a risk to human life due to factors such as tunnel face collapse, falling rocks, inflow of water, gas explosions, and fires. Construction is carried out in the constant proximity of such dangers.

In order to prepare for such emergencies, communication between inside and outside the tunnel is essential.


Traditionally, emergency communication for workers in tunnels, mines, and underground construction sites primarily relied on fixed telephone systems and emergency broadcast facilities. However, in the case of long-distance construction, challenges arose with the delicate handling of low-voltage cables and the protection of exposed wiring. Recently, communication networks in such challenging environments are increasingly built utilizing ICT, and in turn had led to the integration of IP technology, simplifying wiring and improving maintenance.

Paging speaker, siren light, etc. is installed separately, and cables are wired to each in a jumbled manner

(Image of conventional emergency communication equipment installation: Complex wiring poses challenges in construction and maintenance.)

Solving Challenges at Excavation Sites with the IX System

The following is a case study in Japan, where AIPHONE's IX system resolved wiring challenges at a tunnel construction site.

The use of communication equipment at tunnel construction sites is limited to the construction period. Therefore, not only installation but ease of removal is also essential. The IX system is compatible with IP networks and provides simplified construction with a single LAN cable. In this case, intercom terminals (IX-MV7) were installed at intervals of 300m from the tunnel entrance inside the pits, on-site office, and surveillance stations, realizing a single system integrating emergency buttons, sirens, and speakers for paging.

Intercom, paging speaker, siren light, emergency button, and accessories are installed on a carriable board

The intercom terminals are primarily used for "emergency communication," "announcements before tunnel blasting," and "communication between inside the tunnel and the on-site office."

Moreover, tunnel construction and mining sites faces challenges of temporary delays caused by unexpected issues or mining equipment malfunctions. One such accident at mining excavation site occurred in 2010, when there was a collapse at the Copiapó mine in Chile. Following the accident, communication with the workers was interrupted for an extended period, resulting in a time-consuming process for confirming their survival. Additionally, in tunnel construction projects in Malaysia, there have been instances of unforeseen sinkholes or delays in the construction schedule due to gas eruptions or springs.

These is just an example, but in tunnel, mine, and underground construction projects, there is a possibility of construction delays due to unforeseen accidents. In such emergency situations, it is crucial to quickly and accurately convey information. With IX system, which can link multiple sites, communication with workers and management at other locations can be facilitated using IP networks. This allows quickly alerting dangers, thereby ensuring the safety of workers and potentially minimizing the impact on the construction schedule.

A view of a tunnel construction site

The IX System featured here is ONVIF compliant, allowing flexible integration with third-party products. This ensures stable communication even in tunnel, mining, and underground construction sites, facilitating smooth coordination between work sites. In addition, the IX system offers equipment with IP65 or IP54 protection grades, adhering to international standards for dust and water proofing. This lineup of devices enables stable operation in demanding work environments.

Next, we will discuss the three benefits IX system brings to tunnel, mining, and underground construction projects.

Three Essential Features at the Construction Sites

1) Emergency Communication

When the emergency button is pressed, the siren light and alarm connected to the intercom terminal quickly notify the entire tunnel pit and on-site office about the emergency situation.

Emergency communication diagram between an office and construction sites

2) Pre-blast Announcements

In tunnel construction, the intercom terminal installed in the on-site office makes pre-blast announcements to the tunnel pit five minutes prior to blasting. Inside the tunnel pit, the announcement is broadcast through the speakers connected to the intercom terminal, and simultaneously, the siren light connected to the intercom terminal also signals with light and a loud siren.

Pre-blast announcements diagram from an office to construction sites

3) Communication Between Inside the Tunnel Pit and the On-Site Office

It also plays the role of a conventional intercom and is used for individual communication between the tunnel pit and the on-site office.

Since the intercom terminal is equipped with a camera, both parties can see each other's face and the surrounding area, promoting smooth and visual communication.

Calls and communication diagram between an office and a construction site

We introduced a case where AIPHONE's IX system, which realizes coordination with other equipment, can support the demand for simplified wiring in tunnel construction sites, serving as a valuable tool to ensure workers' safety inside the tunnel pit.

Japan is considered to be one of the leading tunnel nations in the world, with approximately 73% of its land consisting of mountainous terrain. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, there are around 10 thousand road tunnels nationwide alone. Ongoing construction projects across Japan include the development of railway tunnels, such as the Linear Chuo Shinkansen, and the establishment of new expressways.

Moreover, countries other than Japan are actively involved in tunnel construction projects. For instance, Norway has 22 underwater tunnels, and Switzerland boasts the world's longest tunnel. Furthermore, in addition to communication systems for tunnel pits, there is a similar need for communication means in mining excavation in countries with a high production of iron ore, such as Australia, Brazil, and India. We believe that the IX system can play a role in addressing these communication needs. We hope you will consider AIPHONE's IX system as a substitute for telephone equipment, which not only solves installation issues, but also enables one-system integration with other equipment.

Our local support team will answer all your question.

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