In today's fast-paced world, we need innovative solutions to tackle some of the most pressing challenges. That's why organizations like Swissloop Tunneling are working hard to create a better world with cutting-edge technology.

A Ground-Breaking Team

Swissloop tunneling TBM team with Sika engineer Alejandro
Image: Swissloop Tunneling team with Sika TBM product engineer Alejandro Velez

Swissloop Tunneling is a student-led association at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. Their goal is to create a faster and more efficient way of constructing tunnels that can also help to achieve CO2 savings through optimized planning and technologies.

Swissloop Tunneling logo black and white
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Founded in 2020, the team brings together over 40 students with expertise in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and various business-related fields. In their homepage, they state that “their vision is to spearhead the research on infrastructure which allows the (Hyper)loop concept to become reality”.

They aim to set an example in long-term thinking in production, diversity and dedicated work attitude. Swissloop Tunneling is creating synergies with industry and university partners to build a network to revolutionize the tunneling industry.

Over the last three years, the Swissloop Tunneling team designed and built their first tunneling machine “Groundhog Alpha”, named after one of nature’s most creative tunnel-building animals. "Groundhog Beta", the second prototype machine, uses a unique steering mechanism and progressive tunnel lining system to 3D-print the tunnel tube while moving forward with more agility than conventional solutions. This is something that has never been done before.

Regional Manager Americas
"Sika supports young students with fresh and innovative ideas, which enable Sika in contributing to infrastructure projects in an innovative and more sustainable way." Christoph Ganz, Regional Manager EMEA

Contributing to the Future

Tapping into Sika Expertise

With the support of Sika, the Swissloop Tunneling team has been able to tap into the expertise of a world leader in construction chemicals and knowledge, helping them to accelerate the development of their technology.

Thanks to this collaboration, Swissloop Tunneling has made significant progress in developing more efficient tunnel construction methods. It also serves as a foundation for current and future innovations in Sika’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) products and solutions.

Sika’s expert team have supported in various ways so far:

  • Testing of TBM foam for soil conditioning
  • Analysis of possible granular polymer for the wall lining
  • Use of Sika waterproofing membrane to seal off certain sections of the tunnel boring machine
  • Use of Sika fast-curing adhesive to glue selected machine parts together
  • Further technical support and advice
Swissloop tunneling TBM team with Sika engineer Alejandro advising
Swissloop Tunneling team working in 3D model
"At Sika, we are dedicated to being pioneers. We are grateful to contribute to the ideas and people of Swissloop Tunneling, who share the same vision." Alejandro Velez, Corporate Product Engineer for TBM at Sika

Not A Boring Competition


In 2023, the team competed in Elon Musk’s second competition for TBM technologies called Not-A-Boring Competition. They won second place and received the Innovation Award.

The team will compete again in further competitions.

Learn more about the Not-A-Boring Competition


Swissloop Tunneling TBM team photo at Not A Boring Competition in Texas 2023 with Sika logo on vest in foreground

A Look Back at the Journey in 2023

The Swissloop Tunneling Labs in Action