What Is A Pile Driver?

A great many construction projects will require the use of a pile driver – a machine that drives piles into the ground to act as a foundation support to the building. Piles are also often used in the construction of bridges and other freestanding structures that are expected to withstand weight, pressure or even just all types of weather.

Traditionally, a pile driver was made of a simple mechanism that used a heavy weight to hammer large supporting piles into the ground. A guiding channel was often created and fitted around the pile to prevent the weight from missing its target or bouncing off and in another direction – which could potentially cause harm. The weight was lifted using hydraulics or man power and released to land on the pile and drive it deeper into the ground. Of course, this process was relatively slow and laborious and meant a number of workmen had to be involved at one time.

Modern pile drivers are much more efficient both in terms of time and cost and the traditional system of piling has given rise to a number of different piling developments. One such development has been the advent of excavator mounted vibratory piling heads which are mounted to the end of the excavator dipper in replacement of the standard bucket. These piling attachments are suitable for short steel pile driving and have many advantages over a larger, traditional piling rig.

A vibrating pile driver suitable for use on an excavator uses counter rotating eccentric weights to create vibrations that are cancelled out horizontally but directed vertically. The vibrating energy is directed straight into the sheet pile that is being driven. A vibrating pile driver can achieve between 1200 and 2400 vibrations per minute – making them incredibly fast and efficient. The traditional method of ‘hammering’ piles in using a weight may well have taken as much as a minute to achieve only a couple of strikes – a vibrating sheet pile driver speeds this process up by delivering very fast blows to the sheet pile, allowing it to be driven into the ground quickly.

A vibratory sheet pile driver can also be used to extract piles that need to be removed before construction can continue. The sheet pile is gripped by integral clamps and vibrating forces help loosen the pile and gradually remove it whilst the excavator slowly pulls it from the ground.

If you need a sheet pile driver for a construction project, hiring this specialist attachment from a dedicated attachment hire company is often the most cost effective solution. As there are several sizes of vibratory pile driver available, larger specialist attachment hire companies will most likely have stock of pile drivers to suit common sized excavators. Another advantage when hiring these piling attachments from a specialist attachment rental company will be their ability to match flow and pressure of the pile driver to your excavator and will have the experience to ensure you get maximum performance when using it.

Once piling was the domain of larger pile rigs and cranes but when a relatively small sheet piling project comes along, or when you are working in an area with a restricted amount of space, an excavator mounted attachment is often the best way to go. And if budget or the time period to do a job is tight then hiring a vibratory sheet pile attachment is the cost effective answer.

Finding a suitable sheet pile driver attachment online is relatively straightforward. Look out for specialist attachment hire companies closest to the area you intend working in and be sure to check references before entering into any hire contract.

In the UK there are a number of specialist attachment hirers who stock vibrating pile drivers as part of a comprehensive range of excavator attachments. The more reputable hirers will be members of one or more professional trade bodies such as the CPA (Construction Plant Association) or the NFDC (Associate of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors). Another good sign of high internal standards and consistency is if the hirer has ISO9001 accreditation.

Look for an attachment hirer who is established and has a history and reputation for reliability. And lastly, be sure the equipment being offered is of a high quality and has been well maintained as this will most likely mean, if hiring a pile driver, it will perform well and be reliable.