VDBUM Info 2023: Alternative solution

Mechanical pile breaking method impresses in test operation

Manual methods with pneumatic hammers are usually used for the pile breaking of bored piles. Accidents caused by falling bored pile caps and serious health problems caused by noise, vibrations and dust are side effects for the employees carrying out the work. The network operator TenneT TSO searched the market for alternative solutions and found what it was looking for.

Pile breaking
Reduced processing time: a pile with a diameter of 1 m and a height of 1 m can be processed with the Brextor within one hour. (Photo: BRC Engineering AG)

The company has tested two mechanical pile breaking methods. One of the two methods was Brextor from BRC Engineering AG, based in Switzerland. The tests were so successful that TenneT TSO GmbH has decided to only authorise the pile breaking with non-manual work equipment in future. “The HSE guidelines stipulate that manual work may only be carried out in justified exceptional cases. The advantages of automated processing are obvious. It minimises the risk of accidents at work and protects employees from HAVS, which is hazardous to health. If there is a technical solution to prevent accidents at work and reduce the exposure of employees to vibrations, this should be favoured. In accordance with Section § 2 (1) of the Construction Site Ordinance in conjunction with the principles formulated in Section § 4 (Paragraphs 1 to 5) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, piles should also only be driven by hand on all construction sites in Germany in exceptional cases. The consequences for individuals, society and companies are too high if employees are absent from work or suffer an accident at work due to hand-arm vibration syndrome. This decision has been enshrined in the company’s HSE guidelines and is therefore binding for all future projects,” says Christoph Brüggemann, safety expert at TenneT TSO GmbH. Dominik Gorgulla, project manager at TenneT TSO GmbH, confirms the positive experiences with the new pile breaking methods. “We want to protect the health of our employees and reduce the number of accidents at work. For this reason, the project has decided that in future only mechanised work will be permitted. The two mechanical pile breaking methods not only have the advantage that they are safer and healthier for the employees, but they also have other advantages. Pile breaking is much faster. In addition, with the Brextor method, the material can be installed directly into the clean layer so that the solid concrete parts do not have to be crushed and disposed of. This also saves on transport to the landfill and the need to insert replacement material.” BRC Engineering AG took 2nd place with Brextor in the VDBUM Sponsorship Award 2022 in the category “Innovations from practice”. The solution was also the subject of the VDBUM Digital Technology Forum in mid-September under the heading “A quantum leap in pile breaking”.

Info: www.brc.swiss

Original press release in German.

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