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Efficient sheet piling for motorway projects

First publishedin World Highways
November December 2018
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A UK-based steel sheet-piling contractor, Sheet Piling, is now using a TM 12/15 LR rig from the German ABI Group for motorway projects such as the widening of existing earthworks.
A UK-based steel sheet-piling contractor, Sheet Piling, is now using a TM 12/15 LR rig from the German ABI Group for motorway projects such as the widening of existing earthworks. This is said to be the world’s first long-reach telescopic leader rig, which is claimed will revolutionise sheet piling operations.


The highly advanced vibratory installation rig features a maximum horizontal reach of 8.1m, measured from the centre of its cab’s body to the pile-driving position. This is said to be 3m further than any other rig currently available.

Operating with a rig with this extended reach provides a contractor with distinct advantages. Currently, the widening phase of SMART motorway upgrades typically requires two weeks of enabling works and platform construction, so as to support a rig with the standard 5m reach.  With the new TM 12/15 LR, no such preparation works are required, as the 8m-reach rig can stand on the existing carriageway and drive the piles where required.

This speeds up a widening project and also reduces overall cost. Predicted savings are between £40,000 and £60,000 for a project within which a typical 100m sheet-pile wall is being installed.

Despite the extra reach capacity of the rig, the design does not compromise other capabilities. The long-reach telescopic leader rig’s vertical reach is 3.9m and it offers a maximum driven or extracted pile length of 16m.

The rig also has a powerful MRZV 20VV vibratory hammer and MDBA 4000 auger attachment, with power from a Euro Stage IV emissions engine. It provides the contractor with an extraction force of 175kN and a crowd force of 100kN. The weight of the extended arm is balanced by an additional 3tonne counterweight, whilst a heavy-duty hydraulically extendable undercarriage has a 4.2m overall track width, which reduces ground-bearing pressures.

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