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Piling Machines Are Heavy Construction Equipment Used To Install Foundation Piles And Retaining Walls

Piling Machines Are Heavy Construction Equipment Used To Install Foundation Piles And Retaining Walls


Piling machines are heavy construction equipment used to install foundation piles and retaining walls. They are indispensable in major construction projects involving deep foundations such as skyscrapers, bridges and multi-storey buildings. Piling plays a vital role by transferring and distributing the load of heavy structures on stable layers of soil or rock present deep below the ground. With the growing urbanization and infrastructure development, the demand for piling machines has exponentially increased in recent times.

Types of Piling Machines

There are different types of piling machines available in the market depending on the piling method, load capacity and job requirements. Some of the commonly used piling machines are:

Impact Hammer Piling Machine

Impact hammer piling machine is the most popular type used for driving precast concrete or steel piles into the ground. It works on the principle of repeatedly lifting and dropping a heavy striking hammer to install piles. This machine offers higher production rates but generates significant noise during operation.

Hydraulic Hammer Piling Machine

Hydraulic hammer Piling Machines uses hydraulic pressure and energy to install piles instead of manual striking. It is equipped with either a diesel hydraulic power pack or electric motor driven hydraulic pump set. Compared to impact hammer, it causes less noise and vibration during piling.

Auger Piling Machine

An auger piling machine employs a hollow screw type auger bit to bore holes in the ground for placing reinforced concrete or secant piles. It is suitable for relatively loose to medium dense soils. The continuous flighting of the auger displaces and removes the soil from the hole during boring.

Deep CFA Piling Machine

Continuous Flight Auger (CFA) piling machine uses a hollow stem continuous flight hollow shaft auger for deep bored cast-in-place concrete pile construction. It is capable of forming piles up to 100 meters deep with diameters ranging from 300mm to 1500mm. CFA piling is suitable for all ground conditions including gravels and weak rocks.

Piling Rig Attachments

Apart from self-propelled piling machines, piling rigs are versatile attachments used along with hydraulic excavators and cranes. Common piling rig attachments include impact hammers, hydraulic hammers, vibratory drivers, rotary boring tools, CFA tools, drilling augers and pulling devices.

Machine Components and Operations

Piling machines comprise of several key components working in unison to achieve pile installation:

- Power Pack - Providing hydraulic or combustion engine power source.

- Leader - Tower structure mounting lifting and guiding components.

- Grappler - Grapples or clamp to hold piles firmly during driving/boring.

- Hammer/Auger - Main tool for striking/boring, fitted at bottom of leader.

- Delivering/Guiding System - Ensures piles are aligned accurately during installation.

- Control Cabin - Housing machine controls, monitor panel for operator.

The typical piling sequence involves pile handling, guiding into position, boring/driving into ground, extracting auger/hammer, checking pile penetration and repeating until desired set is achieved. Automated machines complete these steps efficiently while compact models can work even in restricted sites.


Piling machines find wide use in construction as well as geotechnical engineering applications:

Foundation Systems - Used for cast-in-place concrete piles, precast concrete piles and H-beam piles to transmit building load to deeper strong strata.

Retaining Structures - Installing sheet piles and secant piles for building retaining walls, cofferdams and shore protection works.

Road and Bridge Projects - Forming pile caps and abutments on rivers, constructing viaducts and underpasses demand piling.

Tunnelling - Piles provide ground anchorage and support for slurry walls during tunnel boring machine operations.

Offshore Structures - Marine piling for oil rig platforms, wind turbine foundations, breakwaters and jetties installed from floating barges.

Factors Influencing Choice

The type of piling machine advised by foundation experts depends on job conditions and parameters like:

- Nature of strata - Soil permeability, hardness, water table affecting boring/driving ease.

- Pile size and length - Diameter and embedment depth for required load bearing capacity.

- Production speed - Machine output influences project timelines and costs.

- Installation stresses - Vibrations from driving may endanger adjacent structures.

- Access and site constraints - Compact equipment fits limited work areas.

- Subsurface obstructions - Augering prevents refusal on boulders/utilities unlike impact driving.

- Cost economics - Initial outlay, operating expenses, availability of types in the region.

With the growing construction industry globally, advancements in piling machinery have boosted project feasibility by forming deep foundations rapidly, economically and safely. Computerization is automating pile installation. Stricter norms demand minimal vibration and noise levels. Sustainable piling helps preserve ecological balance in development activities. Overall, piling machines will remain indispensable equipment for creating robust foundation systems upholding heavy infrastructures.

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