A record 30 meter (98 foot) diameter steel pipe pile was driven by First Harbor Engineering Company of China and APE near Hainan Island for the new international airport for Sanya, China.  The massive pile is 30 meters in diameter, 34 meters long and weighs over 600 metric tons. The previous record pile, 22 meters in diameter, was driven by APE’s Octakong on the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Seaway Project in 2011.

Sanya is a growing resort destination in South China, and is currently limited with only one airport and only one runway. The existing airport was designed for 1.5 million travelers per year in the 1990’s but is now seeing an overflow of 13 million people per year, causing unsustainable overburden for the facility. The planned airport is to offer five runways with a projected ability to handle over 20 million people per year comfortably, which is projected to boost the tourism of Hainan island. The only problem? How to create a 5-runway airport where there is no available land for a 5-runway airport, and do so within a 2 year schedule?

Answer – Build a new island for a new airport.


With super large 30 meter diameter piles.

Yeah, but how could you drive piles that large?

Only with the APE Dodecakong, the world’s largest piledriver.

Designed and patented by APE, The Dodecakong consists of twelve APE Model 600 vibros mounted together and powered by twelve CAT 32 – 1200 HP engines supplying 14,400 HP combined. At full power the Dodecakong delivers nearly 4,000 gallons of oil per minute producing a massive 7,200 tons of drive force. There are over 20,000 feet of hydraulic lines (3.8 miles) with an advanced control system to keep all components in perfect synchronization. The roof of the DodecaKong is large enough to accommodate a basketball court with room for nearly 1,000 fans on each side. The total hammer weight is 700 metric tons with 4,200 tons of line pull ability.

In order to complete the project on time (in time for the first flights?), at least 3 APE DodecaKongs will be deployed, making it by far the largest pile driving operation in history.

We thank our supply chain members, the entire APE team on two continents, and the exceptional team at First Harbor Engineering, who all worked tirelessly through the Holiday Season to deliver the world’s largest pile driving machine!

We look forward to sharing more photos and information as this project continues.


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