What is the Most Powerful Pile Drilling Equipment on the Market? Unveiling High-Performance Solutions

Would you be able to say what is the maximum diameter that current pile drilling equipment can bore? And the depth they can reach? In recent years, manufacturers have been investing in increasingly larger equipment to meet market needs. The question is: which one is the most powerful? Let’s find out below.

Pile drilling rigs are composed of a base machine with vertical mast on tracks, a push-pull cable or cylinder, a rotary head, a telescopic kelly, and the drilling tool.

When we talk about the power of a pile drilling rig, we are not referring to the power of its engine, but rather its capacity to bore large-diameter and deep piles in hard soils. For this reason, to analyze the power, we will focus on six main variables: torque, push-pull, maximum diameter, maximum depth, motor power, and total operating weight.

After reviewing the important parameters, it’s time to choose the manufacturers. Among all the companies in the sector, I have selected five well-known European companies that produce excellent drilling equipment: Bauer, Liebherr, Casagrande, Soilmec, and IMT. I have analyzed their portfolios and compared the characteristics of their largest equipment, which are: Bauer BG 72, Liebherr LB 44-510, Casagrande B470 XP2, Soilmec SR 145, and IMT AF 460. Which one do you think is the most powerful?

If we analyze the technical specifications of the Liebherr, Casagrande, Soilmec, and IMT equipment, leaving out Bauer for now, we can see that they all offer similar performances. Some equipment has higher torque, others have greater push-pull capacity, but ultimately they are similar machines designed to drill piles up to 3.0-3.5 m in diameter and depths between 100 and 120 m. The average parameters of these four equipment are:

  • Torque: between 435 and 510 kN·m.
  • Push-pull: between 450 and 660 kN.
  • Maximum diameter: between 3.0 and 3.5 m.
  • Maximum depth: between 95 and 120 m.
  • Motor power: between 390 and 505 kW.
  • Total operating weight: between 145 and 167 tons.

And what about the Bauer BG 72 equipment? You can imagine it. I haven’t included it in the previous group because, as of today, all its specifications are one step above the ones we just mentioned. This doesn’t mean that Liebherr, Casagrande, Soilmec, and IMT are small machines… quite the opposite! They are giants in drilling, but currently, there is a larger equipment in this segment of special foundations.

Bauer BG 72

The Bauer BG 72 is the most powerful equipment in the market, with a rotational torque of 721 KN.m, a push-pull capacity of 600/769 KN, a motor power of 709 KW, and a total operating weight of 296 T. This drilling rig can execute piles with diameters of up to 4.6 m without casing, and up to 4.2 m in cased piles. It can reach a maximum depth of 125.1 m. It’s a true giant in deep foundation work!

Source: https://www.bauforum24.biz/

The BG 72 equipment is available in two versions: basic and premium. To achieve the maximum diameters and depths mentioned, it is necessary to use the larger model (on the right in the lower figure).

You can download the technical specifications of the BG 72 equipment from the following link.

↓ Download

Now let’s review the characteristics of the other analyzed equipment: Liebherr LB 44-510, Casagrande B470 XP2, Soilmec SR 145, and IMT AF 460.

Liebherr LB 44-510

  • Rotation torque: 510 kN.m.
  • Push-pull: 650/500 kN.
  • Maximum diameter: 3.0 m.
  • Maximum depth: 94.2 m.
  • Motor power: 505 kW.
  • Total operating weight: 155 T.

Casagrande B470 XP2

  • Rotation torque: 470 kN.m.
  • Push-pull: 660/660 kN.
  • Maximum diameter: 3.5 m.
  • Maximum depth: 111.0 m.
  • Motor power: 450 kW.
  • Total operating weight: 167 T.

Soilmec SR 145

  • Rotation torque: 435 kN.m.
  • Push-pull: 540/540 kN.
  • Maximum diameter: 3.5 m.
  • Maximum depth: 121.0 m.
  • Motor power: 470 kW.
  • Total operating weight: 145 T.

IMT AF 460

  • Rotation torque: 460 kN.m.
  • Push-pull: 450/450 kN.
  • Maximum diameter: 4.0 m (3.0 available).
  • Maximum depth: 110.0 m.
  • Motor power: 390 kW.
  • Total operating weight: 165 T.

We have seen in this article that there are currently mechanical means to drill piles with diameters of over 4.0 m and depths of 120.0 m. Let’s do some calculations: a pile with a diameter of 4.0 m and a depth of 120.0 m has a volume of 1508 m3. Just the concrete pouring, at a good rate of 50 m3 per hour, would take 30 hours. But what about the reinforcement? What quantity would be needed? How many sections would have to be installed? How long would it take to make the overlaps?

Therefore, when designing piles of these characteristics, it is not only important to consider the appropriate drilling equipment but also to analyze the feasibility of the other phases of the execution process.

And you, do you know any pile drilling equipment with superior performance? Perhaps an American or Asian manufacturer?

Gerardo Marote.