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An innovative product from Finland makes the job of cutting piles faster, easier and safer

By Mark Halsall

 

In the early 2000s, a pair of Finnish construction workers, Teppei Morimoto and Antti Makinen, were carrying out the physically demanding task of cutting concrete foundation piles using handheld tools when they thought: there has to be a better way.

When Morimoto and Makinen looked around, they couldn’t find any ready-made commercial solutions they could purchase that would make their work less difficult, so they decided to develop their own.

That solution is MotoCut. It is a fully automated pile cutter that can be attached to an excavator to make cutting piles much quicker, easier and safer than doing it with manual disc cutters or hydraulic croppers.

Samuli Salmela is president and CEO of MotoCut Ltd. He says the MotoCut pile cutter has really caught on and can now be found on construction sites in many areas around the world.

“So far, we have not faced direct competition and we have not seen any machine with similar capability,” said Salmela. “The market response has been pretty amazing. This is a new product, but the interest has been huge.”

Morimoto came up with the concept for the MotoCut pile cutter in 2010. Two years later, he and Makinen established MotoCut Ltd., and the first prototypes of the machine were produced.

The ‘cutting-edge’ design of the MotoCut pile cutter was recognized by the Finnish Quality Association, which awarded the company their Quality Innovation Award in 2012.

Morimoto and Makinen continued to provide manual pile cutting services at the same time they were making their automated pile cutters, until 2017, when they decided to focus solely on growing the MotoCut business.

Cut piles faster

Salmela says that while there are a few companies which offer automated pile cutting as an a service, MotoCut is the only manufacturer that makes a pile cutter as excavator attachment that can be fully controlled from the excavator cabin.

“MotoCut speeds up construction work and makes project planning easier,” he said. “Because the piles can be cut by the excavator operator, it makes it easier to make the schedules because you don’t have to wait for third-party, specialized contractors.”

Salmela says MotoCut cutters produce high-quality and predictable results, and because they are mechanized, they can cut piles up to four times faster compared to manual work.

“It is ideal for construction and demolition sites where there are plenty of piles to be cut. It saves time, money and shoulders,” he said.

The pile cutters can be attached to excavators ranging from 7 to 40 tons, and according to Salmela, they are easy to transport to a worksite and install on an excavator.

“We recommend using quick couplers, and we can also provide those to our customers based on their excavator connection type,” said Salmela.

MotoCut offers two different types of pile cutters:

  • A hydraulically driven pile cutter featuring a pair of diamond cutting blades for sawing through concrete piles.
  • A pile cutter for steel piles or piles that uses a plasma cutting device and torches.

 

MotoCut’s Q-350S cutter can cut concrete piles with diameters from 180 to 350 mm while the Q-500S model can cut through concrete piles ranging from 300 to 500 mm in diameter.

MotoCut’s plasma cutter can be used to cut steel piles and pipes up to 630 mm in diameter. Salmela says steel piles cut by the plasma cutter can be easily welded together and reused.

He says that the MotoCut plasma cutter attaches to the excavator the same way as the hydraulic cutters, but installation is even easier because the plasma cutter doesn’t require an additional water line to the cutting unit.

Salmela maintains the MotoCut pile cutters offer a lot of safety advantages to users. As operators are isolated from the danger zone where the piles are being cut, they aren’t at risk of being hit by falling piles or breathing in harmful dust and fumes.

Operators also don’t have to contend with hand-arm vibration syndrome, which can afflict construction workers who are required to do a lot of work with hand-held vibrating pile cutters.

Salmela says MotoCut offers a training package to customers which includes an e-learning component as well as a full-day session with MotoCut technicians who will show users how to install, operate and maintain the pile cutters.

MotoCut sees a lot of opportunity in this country for its unique pile cutters. “Canada is a huge market with a lot of piling work happening,” said Salmela, adding that MotoCut cutters can be purchased through B.C.-based Traxxon Foundation Equipment (TFE).

“We work in Canada with Traxxon Foundation Equipment and they work also as our service partner so that support is close to customers,” Salmela said.

“We have worked now for a few years together. We see TFE as a great partner as they have both sales and technical service capability. They also saw immediately the potential in MotoCut and have helped us to get the product into the North American market.” 

 

 

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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.