Like most good ideas the development of the Iseki product range arose from the identification of a need. In the 70’s sewerage networks in Japanese towns and cities were few and far between. The need was therefore to install sewerage infrastructures whilst minimizing disruption to daily life in one of the world’s most densely populated countries, to meet this end trenchless solutions were sought for installation of the networks.

Mr. Yoshihito Kurose the founder of Iseki Poly-Tech Inc. decided to study solutions to the unique problems of installing sewage infrastructure in the crowded Japanese urban configurations.
He identified that the equipment which was to be designed should have the widest range of application and it had to be able to cope with wide-ranging soil conditions. He chose a slurry system as the basis point of development for this reason.

Company established in Japan

Introduced its first slurry shield the MEPCB a “manually” operated earth pressure counter-
balance shield with a sophisticated automatic counterbalance head, capable of coping with
highly unstable and sensitive water logged ground.

Mechanical Earth Pressure Counter-balance Bentonite Shield                                                            (MEPCB)

Iseki enjoyed the challenge of doing the impossible and defying experts who said it could not be done. Launch of the “remotely” operated Telemole revolutionzed Microtunneling.

The Tele Crunchingmole (TCM) marked the next step forward,  introducing a machine with
an on-line “off-set” rotary crusher for processing cobbles and boulders.

TCM Crunchingmole

European branch established in the United Kingdom

First “Pipe Roof” temporary works structure installed in Singapore, and to date Iseki have installed over 77km of microtunnelled Pipe Roof structures on 32 projects, possibly marking Iseki as the world’s most experienced Pipe Roof Constructor.

Early Pipe Roof Projects

The radical Unclemole TCC (Tele Cone Crusher) with a unique epicyclical cone crusher (combined bi-deirectional and eccentric radial movement) came to the market. A machine with a single cutter head that was capable of dealing with all soft ground conditions
(Clays/ Silts/ Sands/ Gravels) along with boulders up to 30% of the machine size and soft rock. Soon to be recognized as the most versatile MTBM and with subsequent variants (TCZ, TCZ-M, Pipe-replacer, TCP & TCL) is probably the world’s most popular slurry MTBM.

United States branch founded

Mr. Kurose received Distinguished Honorary Professor Award from University of Alabama for his contribution to economic development between the United State and Japan. Yoshihito Kurose Scholarship established for students majoring in international business.

Unclemole Super TCS range unveiled widening operational ground conditions to include hard rock ≦200 MPa unconfined compressive strength and boulders>30% of the machine size whist maintaining the unique epicyclical crusher from the proven Unclemole TCC MTBM.

Unclemole Super TCS≦1350id

Unclemole Super TCS≧1500id

Iseki leads the way again by producing EPB machines with mud-pumping spoil removal/ transfer systems for a major first time sewerage project in Bangkok

Iseki EPB

Euro Iseki Overseas Thailand, JV company goes on to install over 81km of microtunnelled lines on 3 different projects

Euro Iseki in the UK presented with the much coveted Queens Award for Export Achievement.

Unclemole TCV inaugurated, system for direct trenchless installation of PCV pipe from 200mm ID to 500mm ID


Unclemole TCV

TCTS Shuttlemole introduced, customized Unclemole Super with retractable peripheral cutters facilitating MTBM recover through the installed casing pipe. Specifically developed for the construction of blind-hole pipe roof structures.

​Shuttlemole TCTS

New Unclemole Super TCS which has a built in facility for man access to the cutter head through the machine, this allows cutting discs to be changed where long drives are undertaken.

The largest diameter(4310mm O.D) TCS built for the pipe jacking project of sixty (60) meter deep drainage in Saudi Arabia.

Iseki Microtunnelling in the UK complete the UK’s most technically challenging project to date

・980 metre 1.8 metre diameter long sea outfall.

・40 metre depth drive shaft

・300 metres installed on a 1 in 10 declined drive entering into an Inspection shaft on
    a 600 metre vertical radius curve

・680 metres advanced under the English Channel on a 1 in 100 declined drive.

・Underwater seabed MTBM recovery

Plan of project

Section of project

・System deployed for Fiber Optic data transfer/control cables, implemented with
    microtunnelling System for the first time.

Iseki Microtunnelling in the UK develop and produce the first “Bolt On” mixed face cutter head for the Unclemole TCC machine. Extending the operational range to include medium strength rock.

Unclemole TCC cutter head

Unclemole TCC-R Cutter head 

Iseki have installed over 77,764km of  microtunnelled Pipe Roof structure on 32 projects as of today.

The main benefits of the Iseki Pipe Roofing Method are:

★ Total security against settlement and ground movement.

★ Cost saving over alternative methods.

★ Flexibility of design.

Installed pipes are linked together to make secure structure, which is then excavated, and finally lined to create the finished tunnel.


ISEKI TCTS Shuttlemole won an award at the China No-dig conference in Beijing 


ISEKI now offer you “Segmental Slurry Tunnell Boringmachine". The TBM consists of a cutter head made in Germany, a drive equipment made in Japan and a back up equipment made in Korea.


ISEKI develop and produce “New TCS” machine.
This "New TCS" machine can be used to standard soil, mixed soil, and rock.
Iseki offers the appropriate solution for all geological challenges.

​Machine for standard soil and mixed soil

​Machine for standard soil and mixed rock

and to the Future...

Iseki has pioneered the introduction and partnership of Microtunnelling Equipment for over five decades, also with approaching 2,500 units produced they are probably the world’s most popular slurry MTBM.

Iseki works in close partnership with Clients and Suppliers and provides engineered solutions for infrastructure installations utilizing Microtunnelling Technology.

As a manufacture and operator of rental equipment Iseki have gained a detailed appreciation of the capabilities of their Microtunnelling Systems and draws on this experience to assist Clients in delivering successful projects.