Liebherr and Dutco Balfour Beatty deliver 20% productivity boost on piling for Expo Village

Liebherr and Dutco Balfour Beatty deliver 20% productivity boost on piling for Expo Village

Innovative method of powering vibro hammer with the engine of a new 100 t-capacity HS 8100 HD Liebherr duty cycle crawler crane saves time and money for the construction company Dutco Balfour Beatty.

A modification engineered by contractor Dutco Balfour Beatty (DBB) and Liebherr Middle East FZE to the HS 8100 HD being used for the new awarded piling job at Expo Village in Dubai is resulting in a 20 % increased productivity improvement on the piling operations. The duty cycle crawler crane is using its engine power to drive the vibro hammer that installs pile casing. Two 50 t-capacity HS 8050 HD are used to install the steel cages. A fourth Liebherr unit, an LR 1130 crawler crane with a maximum load capacity of 137 t, is also on site.

DBB has six months to complete the piling and foundations work for its contract. “We are well ahead of our schedule, and are set to complete the piling within four and a half months instead of six as per program,” says Tamer Shalash, DBB’s piling and ground engineering manager.

“This is substantially due to a modification designed by ourselves and Liebherr, in which rather than installing a separate power pack on the crane to drive the vibro hammer, we are using the power of the crane engine. In this way, instead of using two engines to run the vibro hammer setup we have only one, and this is controlled by the crane operator”, says Ibrahim Hamdy, DBB’s plant and transport manager.

“We therefore do not have the frame and power pack that is normally mounted on the crane, and so we save on weight and manoeuvrability. We do not need a separate operator for the power pack, so we save on manpower costs, and we save time because we eliminate the lost time required for communication between crane operator and vibro hammer operator”, Mr. Hamdy ads.
By this application money is saved on the purchase or rental of the power pack as well as on diesel and other running costs. “Overall, we have calculated that in time, money and efficiency, we have improved productivity by 20% if compared to the conventional two separate equipment of vibro hammer and crane setup. This is the first time this modification has been used in the UAE, and we shall be using this on the next project where we deploy the Liebherr duty cycle crawler cranes”, explains Mr. Hamdy.

Rotary drills are being used to bore the holes, with the Liebherr units driving the casing and then placing the steel rebar cage, in one length, into the hole. The contract requires 1,900 piles, ranging in depth between 15 and 26 m, and with diameters of 1,000 mm, 900 mm and 750 mm. The soil is sand for the first 4 m, with mixed rock of varying hardness below that, and a water table nearly 7 m below the surface.

“The speed at which we are able to work has been significantly increased by operating the vibro hammer directly from the crane engine. We are working to a 24-hour cycle, and our highest rate of pile installation has been 43 piles during one cycle. Using this configuration, we are saving up to six minutes per pile. We are actually calculating that during one cycle we can save two or three hours. This is a real achievement, and we are very happy to have worked with Liebherr to arrange such a satisfactory performance,” says Mr Shalash.

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