Vertical thinking - breaker piling

By Lindsay Gale24 July 2013

In a novel application for hydraulic breakers, Geopile Africa is using Atlas Copco HB 2000 breakers mounted on Volvo tracked excavators to install Duktus ductile iron preformed piles for solar array projects in South Africa. The country has amongst the best solar radiation levels in the world and therefore has a rapidly emerging solar energy industry, with a number of projects under development in the Northern Cape region.

According to Geopile Africa’s operations and project director Jared Prowse: “These solar field sites are generally very large, in some cases 3 km long x 1.25 km wide. But for us this is not a problem because our piling rigs are extremely flexible and we use mobile Volvo hydraulic excavators equipped with powerful Atlas Copco hydraulic breakers.”

He went on to say: “So far our average pile production rate is 5 minutes per pile and with 4 piling rigs on site we can install up to 400 Duktus piles per day. That is the production rate that I have been aiming for because these projects require us to install over 50,000 piles in a working period of just over 6 months. My aim is to complete all of these works safely and ahead of schedule for my clients.”

The Duktus piling system concentrates the breaker’s 4,000 J of energy per blow onto the pile-driving shoe and with a blow rate of 400 bpm, piles can be driven easily and quickly through abrasive layers of material in the upper soil levels.

Delivered directly to your inbox, World Construction Week Newsletter features the pick of the breaking news stories, product launches, show reports and more from KHL's world-class editorial team.
Longer Reads
Can machine learning help mend the contracting system?
How artificial intelligence can help contractors more accurately estimate the length and cost of construction projects
Investing in workforce wearables on construction sites
Exoskeletons can increase worker productivity and comfort, but there are issues to be avoided 
Does engineering design matter for Asia’s future infrastructure investments?
Asia’s future infrastructure is facing increasing scrutiny of its sustainability, constructability, bankability, and resilience
Andy Brown Editor, International Construction Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 224 E-mail:
Simon Kelly Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 223 E-mail: