What Is a Vibro Hammer?
To install a foundation pile, it must be forced into the ground. This is often done using a pile driver. A vibratory hammer (also called a vibro hammer) is a unique type of pile driver; unlike traditional pile drivers that use large weights to strike piles into the earth, vibratory hammers use vibrations to drive piles. Employing this technique, new piles can be driven quickly and quietly, and old piles can be extracted efficiently.
How Vibratory Hammers Work
Vibratory hammers use vibrations to reduce the earth’s resistance, which reduces the friction between the pile and the ground. This reduction in friction is what allows the pile to be driven (or extracted) with ease. Vibratory hammers create their vibrations using spinning weights and counterweights, and the vibration causes a pile to “cut” into the soil below.
While a traditional pile driver works like a hammer and a nail (a weight or ram strikes the pile and forces it into the ground), a vibratory hammer works more like an electric knife cutting through meat (the high speed vibration causes the soil to give way, allowing the pile to slip easily into the ground). Using a traditional pile driver, it might take up to an hour to drive a 100 foot pile into the ground, but with a vibratory hammer that same pile can be installed in about 10 minutes.
Vibratory Hammer Components
Vibratory hammers have four main parts:
- Vibration suppressor
- Vibration case
- Hydraulic clamp
- Power unit
The vibration suppressor is mounted on top of the vibration case to isolation vibrations and allow for pile extraction.
The vibration case contains high amplitude eccentric weights with a gear that rotates on a vertical plane to create a vibration. For hydraulic vibratory hammers, the eccentric weights are driven by hydraulic motors mounted on the vibration case. The eccentrics and motor shafts are mounted on a heavy-duty cylindrical bearing. Oil pumps circulate oil between the vibration case and radiator to reduce heat in the vibration case.
The hydraulic clamp is the part of the vibrator that grips the pile or tube. A hydraulic clamp uses two gripping jaws, one which is fixed, and one which is moveable.
The power unit powers a vibratory hammer. Depending on whether the hammer is electric or hydraulic will determine what kind of power unit the vibratory hammer includes. The power unit also comes equipped with an emergency stop button.
Vibratory Hammers Benefits
- Vibratory hammers come with a number of benefits.
- While traditional pile drivers are disruptively loud, vibratory hammers are quiet.
- Vibratory hammers are lightweight and user-friendly.
- They can be used underwater.
- They are more nature-friendly since they don’t disrupt wildlife with loud noises.
- Vibratory hammers can be used near residential areas without noise complaints.
- They are smaller and easier to maneuver than traditional pile drivers.
- They can both drive and extract piles from the ground.
- They same time and money because they can drive piles faster.
- They can be used depending on both the crane and the excavator.
- They use both hydraulic and electrical energy lines.
- They are easy to transport and maintain.
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