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PVE NL Series hydraulic impact hammer
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PVE 7NL hydraulic impact hammerPrinciple of pile foundations

A pile foundation is necessary when the loads of a building will be higher than the upper soil layer can take. Piles are installed primarily to avoid settlements which could result in big damages and dangerous situations. In a limited number of projects piles are installed as ‘tension’ piles these are installed to prevent the object from lifting out of the ground. A well-known example are piles installed under the high tension electricity piles. Due to high forces created by wind the piles need to be ’anchored’ in the ground.

PVE hydraulic hammers are used for the installation of: 
- Wooden (Timber) piles
- Steel H-beams
- Steel casings (tubular piles)
- Steel sheet piles
- Precast concrete piles
- Driven cast in place (DCIP) piles

Installation and working procedures vary per project and country but in general a lot of the jobs is carried out ‘leader guided’ and in some cases when the job is consisting of steel casings and sheets it is also possible to use the hammers ‘free-suspended’ from a crawler crane without the use of a leader (mast).
Soiltype versus Pile type
There are many different piles and piling methods. Some of the methods are very efficient in the weaker soils but can’t be executed in hard soils. In some cases for example when building a sky scraper it is necessary to install piles in to hard rock as well. The methods for this are rather limited.
Soil investigation
To come to the best design of a pile foundation it is absolutely necessary to have a good report and investigation on the ground conditions where the jobsite will take place. A good report and inspection will minimize the risk of unexpected delay and additional costs. In Europe the system in which a cylinder is pushed into the ground to determine the soil type and friction is very popular in most parts of the world the so-called SPT (soil penetration report) is made. In this case little amounts of soil are excavated to determine the type of soil which can be encountered when installing piles. PVE does not supply soil investigation equipment but for the vibratory and impact hammers there are special prediction programs available which can help to determine the driveability of certain sheetpiles and casings in different ground conditions.

Soil investigation

Cone Penetration Test give a good soil report

Pile driving
Precast concrete piles (manufactured in a concrete factory) in most cases square but there are also countries where these piles are octagonal or round and even hollow. Steel tubes, H-beams with or without grout injection Cast in Situ pile driving. In this system a casing with temporary bottom plate is driven into the ground. When reaching the required level a reinforcement (steel cage consisting of some small bars) is lowered into the casing and fresh concrete is poured or pumped in the casing.  After concreting the casing is extracted again to be used again in the same principle. PVE is specialized in this field and has many different machines for this.

Typical jobsite of the installation of precast concrete piles. The PVE 50PR is a popular machine!

Advantages of (precast) pile driving compared to drilling:
- No risk of surrounding soil having a lot of negative effect on the shape of the pile
- Several parameters can be monitored while driving a pile so the highest quality can be assured.
- When choosing for precast piles there is no risk of an underestimated high use of concrete.
- Very little spill on the jobsite resulting a very clean operation.
- No need for excavators, backhoes and soil removal in dump trucks etc.
- No need for all kinds of auxiliary equipment on site like concrete mixers, pumping stations & (mini) excavators. 

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