Vertical thinking - breaker piling
By Lindsay Gale24 July 2013
In a novel application for hydraulic breakers, Geopile Africa is using Atlas Copco HB 2000 breakers mounted on Volvo tracked excavators to install Duktus ductile iron preformed piles for solar array projects in South Africa. The country has amongst the best solar radiation levels in the world and therefore has a rapidly emerging solar energy industry, with a number of projects under development in the Northern Cape region.
According to Geopile Africa’s operations and project director Jared Prowse: “These solar field sites are generally very large, in some cases 3 km long x 1.25 km wide. But for us this is not a problem because our piling rigs are extremely flexible and we use mobile Volvo hydraulic excavators equipped with powerful Atlas Copco hydraulic breakers.”
He went on to say: “So far our average pile production rate is 5 minutes per pile and with 4 piling rigs on site we can install up to 400 Duktus piles per day. That is the production rate that I have been aiming for because these projects require us to install over 50,000 piles in a working period of just over 6 months. My aim is to complete all of these works safely and ahead of schedule for my clients.”
The Duktus piling system concentrates the breaker’s 4,000 J of energy per blow onto the pile-driving shoe and with a blow rate of 400 bpm, piles can be driven easily and quickly through abrasive layers of material in the upper soil levels.