Pile driving is a method used for driving the vertical elements of a deep foundation into the ground. It is a cost efficient method, and is widely used in the construction of large structures like skyscrapers. The technology is ancient, but modern equipment has made this method highly efficient.
When pile driving, there are several different types of equipment that can be used for the efficient completion of the project, and several elements that are key to the pile driving process.
Below are eleven types of pile driving equipment commonly used in construction projects:
1. Piling Rig Equipment
In pile driving, the piling rig is the star of the show. This pile driving equipment has many critical features that allow it to effectively drive elements deep into the soil. The piling rig is often attached to the base of a crane to give it mobility.
2. Leader Equipment
The leader is the main arm of the piling rig, to which most other elements of the rig are attached. The leader can be forward raked or backward raked, meaning it leans either forward or backward at a specific angle. This pile driving equipment allows the rig to hammer the piles into the soil at a specifically determined angle.
3. Hammer Equipment
Another key pile driving equipment is the hammer. Attached to the leader, this piece holds the pile from the top and hammers or vibrates the pile into the ground. There are several different types of hammers that can be used for pile driving based on the size and weight of the piles, and the type of soil that they will be driven into.
4. Hydraulic Operated Hammer Equipment
These hammers are efficient for pile driving on land or water to depths of about 1000 metres. It is a highly efficient hammering method that can manage projects of virtually any size. That said, they can be complicated and expensive to set up for projects that require only very few piles. They may also cause too much noise or vibration in certain areas, and are slower than some other methods.
5. Drop Hammer Equipment
This hammer is the oldest model of pile driving hammer, but is still very effective. It is commonly used to install test piles, and is well liked because it is cost friendly. It has a solid mass range of up to 4000 kilograms, but it is difficult to control the hammer’s dropping force, which can actually cause damage to the piles, especially if they are not properly protected.
6. Diesel Hammer Equipment
Considered the most powerful hammering option, diesel hammers get things done fast. They are also efficient at hammering piles made of a variety of different materials into soils of all sorts of different characteristics. The equipment itself is economic, however diesel hammers do emit fumes that can be problematic depending on the location where the work is being done.
7. Vibratory (Vibro) Hammers Equipment
Instead of using large amounts of weight to hit the pile into the ground, vibro hammers use strong vibrations that ease the pile into the ground. Surprisingly, though, they actually do so much more quickly than traditional hammers, and significantly more quietly. Vibro hammers are also able to remove old piles out of the ground in addition to driving them in.
8. Helmet Equipment
Piles require protection. The force of the pile driving hammer can cause damage, specifically deterioration, at the top of the pile. The helmet is part of a contraption that is used to absorb the shock of each hammering motion to avoid such damage from occurring.
The entirety of the set up includes the striker plate and a hammer cushion, then the helmet, as well as – depending on the pile material – a pile cushion. These all work together to ensure minimal damage occurs to the machinery or the pile. It’s much easier to replace a pile cushion or a helmet than an entire pile, or a pile driving hammer.
9. Piling Winch Equipment
This part of the equipment is used primarily for lifting the hammer and the piles. It can be powered by several different sources, including diesel, steam, or hydraulics, and different winch styles can support different working speeds.
10. Timber Inserts Equipment
Not to be forgotten are some very important pieces of equipment in pile driving: timber inserts. Essentially pieces of wood, these inserts are used to help stabilize the pile in place during the pile driving process. They are made of wood specifically because they are unlikely to damage the pile itself, while still being durable enough to stabilize it.
11. Auger Equipment
An auger is a large drill with a rotating helical screw blade that is used to drill the hole into which the pile will be placed. It uses different, but similar leads to what will be used in the pile driving process. In pile driving, there are pre-drilling and pre-forming, two very similar processes, both of which the auger is used for.