In this work, the kinematics of a large size tunnel digging machine is investigated. The closed-loop mechanism is made by 13 links and 13 class 1 couplings, seven of which are actuated. This kind of machines are commonly used to perform ground drilling for the placement of reinforcement elements during the construction of tunnels. The direct kinematic solution is obtained using three methods: the first two are based on the numerical solution of the closure equation written using the Denavit–Hartenberg convention, while the third is based on the definition and solution in closed form of an equivalent spherical mechanism. The procedures have been tested and implemented with reference to a real commercial tunnel digging machine. The use of the proposed method for the closed-form solution of direct kinematics allows to obtain a major reduction of the computation time in comparison with the standard numerical solution of the closure equation.

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