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Remote controlled piling rig causes stir

Geotechnical equipment firm Soilmec has created a piling rig that can be loaded and unloaded from a lorry by remote control.

The company created the system in response to demand from contractor Bachy Soletanche and now offers it as an option on all new piling rigs.

Bosses at Bachy Soletanche were concerned about the safety risks of getting in and out of piling rigs while they are in the back of transport trucks.

The Soilmec solution removes the need for workers to access the rigs when they are in lorries and it allows clearer communication between rig operators and banksmen.

Bachy Soletanche plant manager Andrew Egglesden said: “Many piling rigs have crawler bases that retract for transportation purposes, which often means that access to the cab when unloading is restricted, difficult and can pose health and safety risks. Access can be further hindered by foldable platforms provided as a safe means of access and egress when the machine is rigged up.”

Soilmec director Mark Nelson added: “This new design feature is undoubtedly an innovation for our industry and we are now getting requests from other customers for their own fleets.

“This innovation is a great collaboration between supplier and customer – and the operators using the system. Soilmec has now adopted this technology across our full range of equipment.”

Bachy Soletanche is investigating the retrofitting of radio remote controls to its existing fleet of piling rigs as well as encouraging the wider industry to adopt its approach.

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