Caterpillar Tunneling is part of a 40-year legacy as a global pioneer and leader in the mechanized tunneling machinery industry.

Founded as LOVAT in 1972, Caterpillar Tunneling is well known for its specialization in the custom design and manufacture of versatile tunnel boring machines (TBMs) utilized across many industry segments including metro, railway, road, sewer, water main, penstock, mine access and telecommunications tunnels.

Decades of persistent passion and dedication drove an impressive array of technology and services for the tunneling industry. The extensive experience, innovative technology and continued research & development have been providing solutions for vast number of challenging tunnel projects around the world.

Since its founding the company’s services and manufacturing capabilities have been globally recognized as industry leading. Over the years with each new experience, the company developed new and innovative excavating methods to meet ever more demanding site conditions.

These innovations include patents such as pressure relieving gates, flood control doors and segment erector arms. We were also the first to introduce variable frequency electric drive on large EPB TBMs.

A selection of historic key company milestones are summarized below:


First TBM made


First TBM shipped to Caracas, Venezuela to compete more than 7.6km of metro tunneling, followed by four more TBMs after its successful completion. These five machines have completed the majority of the city’s mass transit system.


Entered into international market by exporting its first TBM to a sewer tunnel project in Catania, Italy.


First TBM sold to the USA


First TBM shipped to Africa - Cairo to excavate sewer tunnels.


First machines to France and Germany in the mid/late 1980s


The first 7.6m TBM to excavate the Donkin-Morien undersea coal mine access adits off the coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. Best month 370m/m through rock up to 140MPa UPS. All under the continuous presence of methane gas, a world’s first.


In Lisbon, a 9.8m TBM drove successfully a 4km single tube, double track running tunnel under the streets of the city center, being the largest metro EPB TBM in Europe by then.


The first machines were exported to Russia for the Protvino nuclear physics research project near Moscow.


TBM number 100, the first TBM with a screw conveyor and guillotine gate discharge onto the backup conveyor was used in the Tooting Bec Project in London.


First TBM shipped to mine in Taipei Metro, Taiwan.


Europe branch established in the UK


First TBM sent to Melbourne Australia for a sewer project.


First of the seven TBMs was shipped to Ankara, Turkey. The 2nd was utilized in the construction of the Marmary Bosphorus Railway Tube Crossing. The 3rd, 4th and 5th TBMs operated in Istanbul for the city’s extensive metro expansion.


First TBM delivered to Korea.


A 4.42m rock TBM air shipped to Switzerland for the Cleuson-Dixence hydropower project, boring through a 30%-64% inclined shaft tunnel. From the order of the machine to breakthrough of the drive in a total of record 37 weeks.


Two TBMs were sent to Buenos Aires, Argentina to work on the city’s new sewerage network.


TBM 200 is manufactured


Four EPB TBMs delivered to China for construction of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing and Chongqing metro projects.


Acquisition of LOVAT by Caterpillar.


250th TBM made.


A new 180,000 sq ft Manufacturing & Logistic Centre put into operation.


A 132” TBM sold to Costain for West Ham Flood Alleviation Scheme in UK


A 310” TBM shipped to Argentina for the Arroyo Maldonado Flood Relief Tunnel Project.


A 115” TBM was sold to John Holland Tunneling for Melbourne Main Sewer Replacement Project in Australia.


LOVAT rebranded as Caterpillar Tunneling Canada Corp.


Main facility expanded: a 15,000 sq ft Remanufacture Centre opened.


New state-of-the-art tooling equipment installed: Waldrich vertical lathe and Union milling machine.


First of the four Cat® branded TBMs sold to TTC for metro construction in Toronto.


A 162” rock TBM shipped to Sydney, Australia for the City East Cable Tunnel.


Four Cat TBMs sold to York Region for Southeast Collector Trunk Sewer Project.


Four TBMs sold in Turkey through Cat Dealer Borusan.

The outstanding contribution to the safety and productivity of world tunneling industry has won Caterpillar Tunneling a number of international awards.

The company has built over 250 TBMs and performed over 150 full refurbishments for more than 700 tunneling projects worldwide. Our TBMs have excavated more than 2500km of tunnel. Today, some of the original TBMs are still operating after more than 20 years, which is a clear testament of our design and manufacturing philosophy: durable, robust and reliable.

The Caterpillar acquisition of LOVAT, two industry leaders uniting their strength, will undoubtedly position Caterpillar Tunneling to be able to expand the solid foundation built over the last 40 years and benefit our customers around the world with even strengthened commitment to superior product quality, timely delivery, responsive services and even more exciting innovations.