Technology to deliver improved performance and safety, along with real-time construction monitoring, in geotechnics was the clear theme running through new equipment being launched at the recent Intermat exhibition.
Technological advances have helped to add more control and power to equipment used by the ground engineering sector in recent years and it looks like the trend is set to continue with increased innovation. In April the global geotechnics equipment industry joined forces with mainstream construction equipment suppliers to display their latest developments to potential customers at the Intermat exhibition in Paris.
Measurement and control of foundation construction processes is the main function of the newest development from Jean Lutz. Dialog allows real-time communication and reporting of data from continuous flight auger (CFA) piling, soil mixing, ground injections, jet grouting, stone column construction and diaphragm walling.
For CFA applications, the Dialog uses rig-mounted sensors to measure rotation speed, torque, thrust, restrain, pressure and deviation and pump stroke for concrete delivery rates. The system also uses GPS to accurately position the pile. In injection, grouting and soil mixing applications sensors for grout flow, volume and pressure can be added, while for diaphragm wall construction, verticality can also be monitored.
Dialog draws the data together on site in a single colour LCD display and data can be transferred via printer, USB or GPRS. Great control capabilities were also demonstrated by Dawson Construction Plant with its electronic control system which is designed to accurately calculate the power the hammer is delivering to driving the pile. The system uses smart electronics on the power pack and a measuring system on the hammer to accurately locate the ram within the hammer cylinder to provide accurate real-time information of hammer blows and power delivered.
The system also allows energy delivered to be increased automatically so that the driving can adapt to changes in geology and, similarly, there is an auto cut off to prevent the pile driving continuing when refusal has been achieved. Information regarding the construction conditions of each pile can be downloaded from the power pack to a laptop to provide quality assurance, and also potential pile reuse information, to the client.
Dawson has been running the system on its hire fleet for the last 18 months, but the system is now commercially available. Netherlands-based PVE also unveiled a full measurement system and a higher efficiency hammer. The new EcoStrike hammer is sound insulated and has a 20% strike acceleration over the previous model for improved efficiency. The MeasureStrike system allows operators to check and record the energy delivered, blow count and parameters such as depth, driving time and pile number.
Calls for reduced operating costs, along with good performance and flexible operating options, were the driving force behind development of Soilmec’s new SM-28 heavy duty microdrilling rig, which is also available as a jet grouting rig.
The rig is powered by a 194kW Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel engine to deliver 33kNm of torque and is equipped with a telescopic, tilting masthead available in a long or short format. The SM-28 also features radio control for both set-up and drilling phases. The rig, equipped with up to 430mm size clamp and breaker, can reach 17,500kN hoist pull, 8,750kN feed force and 6,000mm maximum stroke.
Soilmec has also improved the design of its cased augered pile (CAP) system with a new spoil removal system. The company has tested the new CSP spoil chute that loads the excavated material into the flight to be transported from the top of the casing to the base of the rig through - developed in response to customer demand - on sites in Varese and Copenhagen and Soilmec is now making the system available on all of its CAP drill rigs.
Casagrande also had new drilling equipment on display at Intermat and used the event to debut its new XP Series. Full specifications of the new models are not yet available but Casagrande says the rigs offer increased performance and safety. The new range also features the Smart Power Management (SPM) system which allows an intelligent engine power management to improve performances and productivity of the machines. SPM monitors the power demand in real time and allocates the full available power to the main duties.
Updated versions of Casagrande’s C6 XP crawler rig and C8 micropiling/jet grouting rig were also on display. Mait was responding to calls from customers with the launch of its new HR130 low headroom piling rig. The company says it is a short mast version of its proven HR150 model that has been developed to meet the demand of contractors working on rail and bridge projects.
Engine emissions Introduction of new EU engine emissions regulations from the start of this year has resulted in a number of manufacturers relaunching or reconfiguring their equipment. Liebherr displayed its LB 28 drilling rig with a 36m three-fold lockable Kelly bar. Although this rig concept has been available from Liebherr for five years, the company says the machine will be updated later in the year when a new Stage IIIB-compliant engine will be added. According to Liebherr, the ability of the rig to undertake Kelly, CFA, double rotary drilling work and soil mixing has been popular with customers.
The new engine laws have also influenced PTC’s research and development and the result is the company’s Stage IIIB-compliant power pack for use with its sheet pile vibrators. The company also had a range of excavator mounted vibrators on display and was demonstrating the capability of its 8PHFV tilting clamp to improve safety on site with its ability to pick up a sheet pile from horizontal and lift it into a vertical position for driving.
Also powered by a new Stage IIIBcompliant engine is the Klemm Bohrtechnik KR 801-3FS drilling rig. The company says the rig’s telescopic undercarriage, which is 1.8m wide on its narrowest setting, is designed to work on confined sites but the addition of a new engine, load sensing hydraulics and data recording system mean that the rig still offers good performance.
Although the ground engineering sector has faced difficult times during the economic downturn, the number of Intermat visitors flocking to see the latest geotechnical innovations suggests that contractors are looking to invest to improve efficiency and add to their capabilities.