Technology Update



Technology Update

  • BLUE Piling Technology

    Courtesy of Fistuca BVThe future of offshore piling: bigger, deeper, quieter

    By Judy Penz Sheluk

    In Europe, offshore wind turbines have become an accepted technology for producing energy. Although offshore wind is not yet used in Canada and the U.S., America’s first offshore wind farm, Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound, Mass., is planned for 2014. 

    Offshore wind turbines are typically mounted on monopile foundations, large steel tubes with a diameter of four to seven metres and around 50 metres long, which are then hammered into the soil with large hydraulic hammers. While effective, this installation technology has some significant drawbacks. Because the turbines tend to get bigger and are installed in ever-deeper water, the monopiles need to get bigger, which in turn demands the ram and anvil to be bigger and heavier. Global production capacity for exceptionally large parts such as these is limited and the prices are high.

    The use of conventional hydraulic hammers, which create a high peak force within a short time span, also poses significant ecological concerns with regards to marine life. As a result, their use has been restricted in many countries, although the type of legislation varies per country. In Germany, for example, there is a strict norm that must be met, while in The Netherlands, there are seasonal restrictions, permitting pile driving only half of the year. In general, the current trend in Europe is legislation getting stricter.

  • Changing  the Game

    IFS Equipment Ltd.’s introduction of “The Game Changer” is set to revolutionize the future of piling rigs

    Submitted by Innovative Foundation Solutions Equipment Ltd.

    There has got to be a better way to do it,” is the thought process of many companies in the foundation business, but for Jason Linley of JD Piling Ltd., it’s a thought that never quite leaves him. As president of a mid-size piling company located in British Columbia for over 25 years, the idea hits home a little harder.

  • Eliminating the Blind Spots

    Courtesy of HoistCamOperators can now put "eyes" wherever they need them

    By Barb Feldman

    In 2012, a potential customer presented Chris Machut’s company with a problem: “How can tugs or towboats see what’s in front of them if they have a giant barge in front? They’re literally piloting that vessel blind,” and radar might not be able to pick up kayakers or small vessels, for example. Netarus met the customer’s challenge with the “TugCam,” a portable camera system designed to improve safety, increase situational awareness and eliminate blind spots on towboats and tugboats, even in complete darkness.

    It was soon recognized that crane operators were having similar problems.

    “They were relying on someone else’s eyes or other operating procedures to perform crane lifts,” said Machut. “They’d move the hook block behind a building and couldn’t see what was going on with that load.”

  • Eliminating the Blind Spots

    Operators can now put "eye" wherever they need them

    By Barb Feldman


    In 2012, a potential customer pre-sented Chris Machut’s company with a problem: “How can tugs or towboats see what’s in front of them if they have a giant barge in front? They’re literally piloting that vessel blind,” and radar might not be able to pick up kayakers or small ves-sels, for example. Netarus met the cus-tomer’s challenge with the “TugCam,” a portable camera system designed to improve safety, increase situational awareness and eliminate blind spots on towboats and tugboats, even in complete darkness. of them if they have a giant barge in front? They’re literally piloting that vessel blind,” and radar might not be able to pick up kayakers or small ves-sels, for example. Netarus met the cus-tomer’s challenge with the “TugCam,” a portable camera system designed to improve safety, increase situational awareness and eliminate blind spots on towboats and tugboats, even in complete darkness.

  • Frozen Solid

    APE Drilling debuts its innovative Spinfreeze pile technology to the Canadian market

    By Jim Timlick

    Northern Canada can be one of the most inhospitable climates known to man or machine. Extreme temperatures and permafrost can pose a serious challenge to any kind of construction project in the region.

    One U.S.-based drilling company is hoping to change all that. APE Drilling recently introduced its Spinfreeze pile technology to the Canadian market. The Spinfreeze pile is designed specifically for colder climates and enables builders to create a rock-solid foundation by using an ad-freeze bond between the piles and frost susceptible geology underground.

  • Introducing the PDA-8G

    Pile Dynamics completely revamps its Pile Driving Analyzer® system

    By Judy Penz Sheluk

    Pile Dynamics recently announced the release of the PDA-8G, a complete redesign of its Pile Driving Analyzer® (PDA) system, the most widely employed system for dynamic load tests of any type of deep foundation. Like previous PDAs, of which some 2,000 have been sold around the world over 40 years, this eighth generation model performs the test normalized by the American Society of Testing and Materials standard ASTM D4945.

    “The dynamic load test has been accepted for many decades as an alternative for static load tests in more than 100 countries around the world,” said Gina Beim, senior consulting engineer and marketing director for Pile Dynamics. “It takes place either during pile driving or when a substantial mass impacts a non-driven pile. At each impact, the PDA takes data obtained by sensors (accelerometers and strain transducers) attached to the pile and calculates bearing capacity and other quantities.”

  • Meet a Piling Professional



    Describe your current job.

    I am the senior project manager and estimator at Formula Contractors. Some of my areas of responsibility include:

    • Providing leadership and general direction to project managers, superintendents and supervisors;

    • Scheduling and completing construction projects;

    • Providing project estimates, as well as managing projects and purchasing construction materials as required;

    • Providing direction to ensure that Formula projects are completed in a standardized manner and according to the company’s policies and procedures;

    • Developing construction and sales opportunities;

    • Completing project close-out packages:

    • Establishing company and project resourcing priori-ties and facilitating communication between clients and customers, senior management, project managers, superintendents, supervisors and managers

  • Non-destructive Testing for Integrity Testing of Concrete Piles

    Shedding light on the hidden parts of concrete piles

    By Farid Moradi and Hamed Layssi, FPrimeC Solutions Inc.

    The inspection and evaluation of concrete piles and deep foundations are often challenging, mainly because these elements are not easily accessible for visual inspection. The process of quality control and quality assurance for this group of elements is very much through indirect measurement of other parameters, such as resistance of a pile to driving or drilling.

  • Novaslice – Removing the Pile Headache

    A new product from a start-up company across the pond is making it easier, faster and safer than ever to breakdown concrete pile heads

    By Paul Adair


    Novaslice Ltd. is a British company that has set out to improve the overall operation of concrete pile heads at the construction site,

  • Optimizing Driven Pile Foundations

    Design-build and remote PDA testing

    By John C. Ryan, Ph.D., P.Eng., Ryan Structural Engineers, LLC

    Sharpening the proverbial pencil
    It’s a familiar saying, and in an engineering office it may sound like this: “Four per cent overstress... maybe I can sharpen the pencil and make it work.”

    Despite the fact that a given balance between load and resistance cannot be “made to work,” there is some insight that this euphemism provides. In reality, deeper understanding of a problem is being sought with the intent of removing uncertainty. As engineers, we are inherently and appropriately risk averse. If we have not personally proven or maintained control of an idea from inception to completion, we become skeptical of it. In practice, this tends result in unnecessary conservatism, particularly where often-disconnected design professionals have tangential or overlapping responsibility. Such is the case with driven piles.

    Much of the excessive conservatism that persists in the driven pile industry can be reduced significantly through a design method that treats the pile foundation as a performance specified component. Utilizing bid solicitations, which include pile design criteria and subsurface reports, foundation contractors, along with a driven-pile specialty engineer, can provide design-build solutions with pricing and schedule to be evaluated for best value. Further, by incorporating remote dynamic pile testing within the scope of the design-build team, the most optimized foundation and installation schedule can be achieved. If the pile specialty engineer and contractor team are engaged from concept through design and certification, the pencil is always sharp with respect to foundation design.

  • Packing a Powerful Punch

    Liebherr's new piling and drilling rig's size, stability and high performance specifications open a new dimension for deep foundation jobs

    By Barb Feldman


    Liebherr’s new LRB 355 piling and drilling rig, first introduced this spring in Nenzing, Austria, will be available in Canada later this year through Liebherr-Canada Ltd. The latest model in Liebherr’s LRB series (for “Liebherr Ramm- und Bohrgerät,” or, in English, “Liebherr piling and drilling rig”), the LRB 355 has the series’ highest performance specifications so far, says Tobias Froehlich, marketing and communication manager at Liebherr Nenzing, and is unique in terms of performance. 

  • Pile Driving Solutions

    Looking for a solution to the stress that vibratory hammers can place on a crane, one company owner discovered the superior benefits of a German-made damper

    By Lisa Kopochinski

     Although Pile Driving Solutions is a fairly new company – it was formed in early 2014 – owner Jay Mooncotch has been in the construction industry for more than 25 years.

    As a former crane operator and rigger, he is only too familiar with the many challenges the pile driving industry faces – one being the damage that a vibratory hammer can potentially place on a crane.

    Looking for a solution to this problem, Mooncotch discovered the vibratory damper through Tunkers, a German manufacturer. He used it on a project and immediately realized its overwhelming benefits. After that, he entered into partnership with Tunkers and became their North American exclusive distributor of vibratory hammers and dampers, and then formed his company Pile Driving Solutions.

    “I’ve been around cranes my whole life, and the damper is by far the best,” he said. “This equipment has advanced engineering and has been proven to work above expectations. Anytime a vibratory hammer is on a crane, the potential exists for parts to vibrate off the crane, which could create injury, damage the crane or shut the jobsite down. This damper is designed to take the shock of a vibratory hammer from the crane and the operator during pile driving applications.”

    The effective shock isolation is achieved by means of a combination hollow rubber spring specifically modulated and heat resistant with a simple but effective flexible joint.

    “By using a damper during sheet piling and case-in jobs, just having a damper reduces pieces from falling off the crane, which is caused by the ongoing vibration,” said Mooncotch. “That, in itself, is a safety hazard and the damper minimizes the risk.”

    The damper can be used on all cranes, such as crawlers, all-terrain and rough-terrain cranes and is available in several models, with the most common being the SD130. With the right rigging, it can be hooked to the block in minutes and requires little maintenance.

    “And if taken care of properly, it can last a lifetime depending on the amount of hours it is used,” said Mooncotch.

    Pile Driving Solutions offers a variety of vibratory hammers and dampers to customers across the U.S. Kiewit recently purchased three dampers: two SD130s and an SD180 for a bridge in New York. American Bridge also bought an SD130 for a bridge job in Dallas, Texas.

    “Manufacturers like Liebherr are requiring dampers or isolators to be used on certain crane models when the machine is fitted with a vibratory hammer,” he said.

    Many crane companies stay clear of pile driving projects because of the possible damage it can do to an expensive crane, but with the damper it offers a line of revenue without the risk of crane damage or downtime.

    “The advantageous part of investing in a damper is that it not only saves wear and tear on your cranes, makes jobs run smoother and safer, but it opens up an entire new line of revenue for crane companies,” said Mooncotch.

    The damper has also created a new market for Bridgeview, Ill.-based Imperial Crane Company, which on one specific job, generated $100,000 by renting a 300-ton hydraulic crane, and an additional $12,000 in rental revenue.

    “Our focus is to create an entire market for crane rental companies that are renting out the crane with the vibratory hammer, and they are able to protect their cranes with the damper,” he said.

    With three offices in Illinois and more 200 employees – through its affiliation with Imperial Crane Company – Pile Driving Solutions has also received inquiries for the damper from Canada, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

    Imperial Crane and Pile Driving Solutions introduced the damper at the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) Annual Conference in Carlsbad, Calif. this past April.

    An international trade association with more than 1,300 members from 43 nations, those attending the conference are in specialized transportation, machinery moving and erecting, industrial maintenance, millwrighting, crane and rigging operations, manufacturing and rental.

    “This product took off fairly quickly and we saw the need to expand into the Canadian market,” said Mooncotch.

    Plans for 2016 include continuing its marketing strategies into Canada through articles, advertising, word of mouth, referrals and trade shows.

    For the next one to three years, Mooncotch says Pile Driving Solutions will continue to create ongoing awareness on the benefits of the damper. His company will be at the Pile Driving Contractors Association 20th Annual International Conference & Expo 2016 in May in New Orleans to display the damper.

    “This damper has created a new market for the crane market,” he said. “It will be a matter of time before additional crane companies stand behind this product and require the damper be used during pile driving jobs. We are going to continue to market this damper and look for new potential customers.”



  • Precision Positioning

    Alva Construction Ltd. streamlines pile driving with new visualization and control system

    By Judith Powers

    As Alva Construction Ltd. Of Antigonish, N.S. began the timber pile component of a major project to replace the fishing wharf at Little Dover, N.S., engineering manager Reg Tramble was looking for a machine control system that would streamline the placement of the piles.

    The job involved driving 180 timber piles – 132 bearing or vertical piles and 48 batter piles in the L-shaped pile work wharf section.

  • See and Be Seen

    Focus on: The HaloTM

    By Kim Biggar

    The HaloTM 360-degree personal safety and task light is much what you’d expect, given its name. It’s a ring that attaches to a hardhat and wraps the head in light, illuminating both the person who wears it and the person’s workspace. It can be seen from over a quarter-mile away.

    Illumagear, Inc. launched its first product, the Halo Light, at CONEXPO 2014. At this year’s CONEXPO, from March 7 to 11 in Las Vegas, Illumagear is revealing HaloTM, its next-generation product. Halo is cord-free and does not require a battery pack, unlike the Halo Light.

  • Small and Mighty

    Tricky situations can call for smaller rigs – Meet the Junttan PM16

    By Jim Chliboyko

    It’s not necessarily the largest piece of equipment available for the job that is always the best or most appropriate. Occasionally, smaller solutions can be equally or better suited. There are factors other than size and power involved with choosing appropriate equipment, such as portability, maneuverability, ease of use and even weight allowances on roads. In the case of pile drivers, sometimes the trickier the situation the job presents, the smaller the rig may be necessary.

    Many have turned to the Finnish pile driver manufacturer Junttan and their PM16 model, a 37,000-kilogram machine, to get their jobs done. (The next machine in the Junttan lineup, the PMx20, is significantly larger, listed on the Junttan website as 55,000 kilograms.)

    “[The PM16] has been a really good seller for us,” said Bruce Patterson of Canadian Pile Driving Equipment. “It’s a little machine with a big heart. It’s capable of driving upwards of 16 meters of pile length. Basically, the PM16 is the smallest, lightest purpose-built piling rig that Junttan makes. It’s big in Alberta at places like oil sands sites and pipeline facilities.”

  • The LiSIM® Liebherr Sim


    By Judy Penz Sheluk

    Finding efficient ways of training and up-skilling machine operators – while keeping safety at a maximum and time and costs at a minimum – are key demands in today’s highly competitive construction industry. Liebherr, a company known for its heavy-duty construction equipment, including crawler cranes, maritime cranes, piling rigs and drilling rigs, has developed

  • The TIP is Tops

    Courtesy of PDIFaster results, complete coverage, ease of testing and information on cage alignment are just some of the advantages of the new Thermal Integrity Profiler 

    By Lisa Kopochinski

    Living up to its sophisticated name, the Thermal Integrity Profiler (TIP) is embodying a new, temperature-based technology for concrete foundation integrity testing.

    The latest development of Pile Dynamics, Inc. (PDI), in partnership with Foundation & Geotechnical Engingeering (FGE), the TIP offers a unique approach in that it uses measurements of the heat generated by curing cement to evaluate the integrity of cast-in-place concrete foundations. (Regions that are colder than expected are indicative of necks or inclusions – a cross-sectional area smaller than intended for the shaft. Regions that are warmer than anticipated indicate bulges – an excess of concrete in a particular location.)

    “The heat generated by curing concrete had never before been used to assess the quality and shape of cast-in-place concrete foundations,” explained Gina Beim, P.E., a senior consulting engineer and marketing director with PDI. “Measurements may be taken by a probe inserted into access tubes pre-installed in the shaft or by Thermal Wire® cables attached to the reinforcing cage.”

  • Upgrading SPT Analysis

    PDI revamps the hardware and software for their Standard Penetration Test analyzing package

    By Jim Chliboyko

    It’s one of the rules of using software in your daily life: it’ll eventually need to be upgraded. It’s why you constantly get notifications from iTunes and Windows and every other app on your phone or every other program on your computer.

    Recently, U.S.-based Pile Dynamics, Inc. (PDI) revamped both the hardware and software for their Standard Penetration Test (SPT) analyzing package.

    For many decades, the SPT has been normalized based on the energy that it takes to drive this rod into the ground. There are several ways of assessing energy, many of them are empirical. The SPT Analyzer offers a way of measuring the energy that is better than just estimating empirically.

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About Us

Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.