Eiffel 101: 4 Types of Pile Driving Hammers

When installing foundation piles, they must be forced into the ground. This can be done in one of two ways: either by driving the piles or by drilling the piles. Here, we’ll examine the four main types of pile drivers: diesel impact hammers, steam hammers, hydraulic impact hammers, and vibratory hammers.

Diesel Impact Hammer

A diesel impact hammer (also called a diesel pile hammer) is a type of pile driver powered by a large, two-stroke diesel engine. The driving weight is located in the piston (the ram), and the apparatus that connects to the top of the pile is called the cylinder. The process goes like this:

  • Piledriving begins by raising the weight of the impact hammer (usually using a cable from the crane that holds the pile driver). This draws air into the cylinder.

  • Diesel fuel is released into the cylinder.

  • The weight is dropped using a quick-release mechanism.

  • The weight of the piston compresses the mixture of air and fuel, heating it to the diesel fuel’s ignition point.

  • The mixture ignites, shifting the energy of the falling weight to the pile head and driving the weight upwards.

  • The rising weight draws in fresh air, and the cycle continues until the fuel is depleted, the pile has reached its point of refusal, or the process is manually terminated.

The pile being driven into the ground is given a temporary cap to avoid damage while it is being hammered. The pile is hammered until “refusal,” which is when the pipe will physically go no farther.

Steam Hammer

A steam impact hammer, also called a steam hammer or a drop hammer, is a type of pile driver powered by steam. The hammer of a steam impact hammer is attached to a piston that can slide up and down vertically through a cylinder. The process works like this:

  • The hammer is raised over a pile by the pressure of steam, which is injected into the lower part of the cylinder.

  • When the pressure is released, the hammer drops.

  • The force of gravity brings the hammer down and it hits the pile, driving the pile into the soil.

The weight of a steam impact hammer’s ram can range from 500 to 50,000 pounds, and can be altered depending on the requirements of the project.

Hydraulic Impact Hammer

A hydraulic impact hammer works by placing a weight above a pile that releases, slides down vertically, and hits the pile, thereby hammering it into the ground. Hydraulic impact hammers are favored in situations where the soil is loose, since driving the piles into the ground compresses the surrounding soil and therefore causes greater friction. This friction increases the load-bearing capacity of the pipe piles.

Foundation Equpment

Hydraulic impact hammers come with a range of features and benefits. They are easy to operate and simple to maintain with little to no special training needed. Most hydraulic impact hammers produce a high impact with a relatively low hammer weight and can be assembled on different carriers.

Vibratory Hammer

Vibratory hammers are an alternative to traditional pile drivers such as those listed above, which use a large weight to strike piles into the ground. Vibratory hammers work by vibrating the soil using weight and counterweights, which causes a pile to move easily into the earth, similar to how an electric knife might cut through meat. Unlike traditional pile drivers, vibratory hammers are quiet, lightweight and can be used underwater. Additionally, they are more nature-friendly than traditional drivers since they don’t disrupt wildlife with loud noises.

Foundation Equipment for Sale

Buy and Sell with Eiffel Trading

Eiffel Trading’s online marketplace is the best option for used foundation equipment! Our inventory ranges from used vibratory hammers, to used drill rigs, to used impact hammers, and everything in between. Furthermore, we offer a wide range of new and used steel piling, including used pipe pile, new wide flange beams, used steel sheet pile, and much more.

All of our listings are constantly being updated, but if you don’t see what you’re looking for, create a wanted listing for free.

Ready to sell your used heavy equipment or construction material? List your products today for free on Eiffel Trading’s online marketplace.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call us at 1-800-541-7998 or email sales@eiffeltrading.com.