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Richard James Robbins

Richard James "Dick" Robbins


Richard James Robbins (1933 - 2019)

(Born: 1933 - Died: 30 May 2019 - Seattle, USA)

Dick Robbins", as he has been known to the tunnelling world was actually born into tunnelling. He was the son of James Robbins, the inventor of the rock Tunnel Boring Machines and the founder of The Robbins Company.

When James Robbins was killed in a plane crash in 1958, Dick Robbins took over the company that his father had founded 7 years earlier. Dick Robbins was only 25 years old when he started managing the 'James S. Robbins Company' as the company was then known. Under his reign, The Robbins Company grew into a worldwide leader and technology powerhouse in TBM tunnelling. He has been the president and the CEO of the company from 1958 to 1993 when The Robbins Company was taken over by Atlas Copco.

His Legacy

Dick Robbins is known as a relentless innovator in tunnelling industry. Many technologies used by today by all brands of Tunnel Boring Machines were actually invented at The Robbins Company under his management. He single-handedly filed 11 US patents and 56 foreign patents in mechanized tunnel excavation.Those include such fundemental technologies as large diameter disc cutters and Double Shield TBM as well as a precursor to EPB TBM.

Dick Robbins has won the '2009 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering' a US award for his contributions to technology.  In 1999, he was included in the “125 Top People of the Past 125 Years” list by the Engineering News-Record.

Personal Life

Dick Robbins has been competitively active in water sports, notably in rowing.

He was married to Bonnie Robbins and they had a son Jim and daughter Jennifer.