Groundforce has unveiled a new attachment designed to improve the safety for handling and installing trench sheets - the SheetMaster.

The company said handling and installing trench sheets could now be now quicker, more controllable and safer thanks to SheetMaster, which is a three-in-one excavator-mounted trench sheet handling tool from Groundforce Shorcp.

Attached via a standard quick-hitch coupler. Groundforce said the SheetMaster had been designed to replace three regularly-used trench sheet handling tools on site, each of which had its limitations.

It consists of a pair of slotted legs which engage over the top of the sheet. A spring-loaded pin located on the upper leg engages with the shackle-hole in the sheet to hold it firmly in place.

With the sheet secured in the SheetMaster, the operator then lifts it into the vertical and, using the excavator’s hydraulic controls, pitches the sheet ready for driving.

When it comes to extracting driven sheets at the end of the job, the company said SheetMaster could be placed over the top of the sheet and the pin re-engaged with the shackle-hole. It is then a simple matter of pulling the sheet out of the ground with the excavator, according to Groundforce.

Two interchangeable leg-sets are available to allow most types of trench sheets in Groundforce’s fleet to be handled.

“We are always looking at how we can provide contractors with new solutions to common problems and ways of making the job easier, quicker and safer,” said Groundforce Shorco Technical Director Tony Gould.

“This is the first product of its kind to combine all three sheet handling tools together. It’s a revolutionary product for the industry.”

Once the sheet has been toed-in by the excavator, the spring loaded pin is released by pulling on a lanyard which then allows about 300mm of vertical movement, allowing the SheetMaster to be used as a hammer to drive the sheet to depth or refusal.

With SheetMaster, it said there was no need for pitching or quick release shackles; used to lift the sheet into the vertical for positioning, driving caps to protect the sheet from damage or extraction chains to pull the sheet out of the ground.

The company said this was the latest product to come out of its Groundforce’s on-going product development forum, which has introduced a range of new shoring related products over the past few years.

Mike Parker, group site manager at contractor Gallagher, said, “We think this is definitely a step forward in site safety and working at heights. As you would expect it took our guys a bit of getting used to at first, but once they were familiar with how it worked they all agreed that it will further improve site safety.”

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