Reviving Equipment on Construction Sites: Reengineering Handling Devices

Sustainability is a mega trend. According to a 2023 report by LAW MEDIA AG, 77% of EU citizens prefer repairing their devices over replacing them. The "repair instead of discard" philosophy is also significant here in Switzerland. For instance, in November 2023, the country’s largest mobile phone repair workshop was established, with 32 locations and 70 employees. The Environmental Office in Solothurn offers repair events, guides, and connects repair cafés, initiatives, and sustainable partners throughout Switzerland. This is a trend we at DEVO-Tech AG have been successfully implementing for years: whenever possible, we breathe new life into our handling devices.

Reengineering Segment Handling Equipment

Which Handling Devices are Ideal for Reengineering?

Most of our handling devices used in segment production are suitable for reuse – from our DVL vacuum lifting devices to the DTT turning tables and the DML clamps. The key factor is that the dimensions of the segments to be lifted should not vary significantly. Both we and our customers benefit from large infrastructure projects often being divided into several tunnel sections with similar or identical diameters. This means the segments usually have identical geometries, allowing for the reuse of the handling devices.

Our favorites for reengineering are the vacuum lifting devices. We design them from the start with interchangeable suction plates. Thus, for reuse, we primarily redesign the suction plate, along with any minor adjustments needed on the device itself. This approach can result in up to 70% cost savings for our customers.

Considering Reengineering vs. New Construction – What Matters?

In general, if the base machine remains the same, it can be refurbished and reused. The most crucial factor in handling heavy concrete elements is the load capacity. If a machine was originally designed for 5 tons, it doesn't make sense to convert it for a 10-ton load. In our experience, a device can be very well modified for a segment weight deviation of +/- 1 ton from the previous project. A lower load capacity is also almost always feasible.

Whether a device can be overhauled and reused also depends on its condition. Extended use in tunnel construction is a tough test for any machine. External factors like temperature, humidity, sunlight, maintenance intervals, and more affect the lifespan of the devices. We can assess the exact condition during service or in the course of reengineering. Here, experience, flexibility, and a good relationship with the customer are necessary to find the best solution together.

Project Brenner Base Tunnel Lot H53: 42% Reengineering

Our current Brenner Base Tunnel H53 project has significantly highlighted the topic of reengineering in recent months. We are particularly proud to cover almost half of the total delivery of 12 machines to Herrenknecht AG with refurbished or modified equipment. The two vacuum lifting devices, two segment clamps, and the turning table handle loads between 16.5 and 33 tons.

At the Max Bögl Group plant in Sengenthal, where over 50,000 concrete segments are produced for lot H53, our handling devices must prove their quality and reliability once again. They ensure that around 530,000 tons of concrete segments are safely moved from the mold to storage before embarking on their approximately 300 km rail journey south, where they will be built into a long-lasting tunnel.


Sustainability through reengineering is an extremely important topic for us. With every reuse of our devices, we gain experience that we directly incorporate into the initial design of our equipment. We are pleased that our customers and suppliers share this view. Only together can we create sustainable solutions.