APE’s 200-6 successfully drove six piles at a time for the 32 meter diameter (104 ft) cofferdams that are being used to extend the Hong Kong airport runway. Prior to the project start, the Chinese government design groups had a tough choice between using either 32m (104 ft) diameter super-large piles, similar to the 22m diameter (72 ft) piles driven for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao man-made island project, or instead to use sheet piles. Since the project is next to the Hong Kong airport there are many safety regulations for construction ships in the area. To drive 32m (104 ft) super-large diameter piles would require a 4,000 ton boat crane with mast that would exceed the 35m (114 ft) height restriction of the area. The fear was that if the boat crane was too tall it would be a danger to the airplanes trying to land at the airport nearby. Therefore, despite the success of the “APE Octakong Project” that drove 22m (72 ft) super-large diameter piles just 10 months ago, they decided to use sheet piles to create the 32m cofferdams instead.
Driving sheet piles for 32m (104 ft) diameter cofferdams on water is no easy task, but despite all of the challenges the main concern was construction speed. To speed up the project the contractor wanted to drive six sheet piles at a time per hammer, something that again has never been done before on this scale. APE provided four 200-6 hammers with six APE model 150 clamps attached to custom beam. Each hammer has a special manifold that allows independent control of each clamp. After the sheets are put in place the APE 200-6 hammer is placed on a row of six sheets to be driven, however when sheets are first placed in the cofferdam template they are not all sitting at the same height since some sink in the soil farther than others. The contractor needed a way to grab onto several piles and vibrate down while some of the clamps are still open.
APE changed the design of the clamp slightly to withstand the forces of a vibratory hammer even while some the clamps are in the open position while others are in the closed. This week the 200-6 was used for the first time with great success. Currently there are now four working 200-6 hammers on the job site each driving six sheets at a time. To increase the speed of the placing of the sheets the contractor also designed a special boat that could grab 49 sheets at a time and place them in the cofferdam template; effectively placing 25% of the sheets at once. A special barge was created to pre-place sheet piles in a position that the special crane could grab. The project requires 147 cofferdams to be driven with 196 flat sheet piles per dam. Each sheet is 30m long to be driven 20m deep. One cofferdam can be fully driven to grade in 4-5 days, a speed unattainable without modified equipment and unique construction techniques used.
This project demonstrates the cooperation APE has had with the Chinese government to continue to supply pile driving equipment that meets their ever increasing construction speed requirements. For more information on this project please contact our commercial lead Steve Gough (firstname.lastname@example.org) who has worked closely with the project groups leaders, or our technical lead David White (email@example.com). Both Steve Gough and David White speak fluent mandarin Chinese and are well versed in pile driving lingo, feel free to contact them in either language. For more pictures of this project please visit our website at www.apevibro.com. Go APE!
We owe a big thanks to Shane McWhirk from Peak Oilfield Service and the APE Parts Department for getting us this story and pictures from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The APE 200-6 was used successfully in cold temperatures (-10 F thru -35 F) for driving the piles for Peak Oilfield Service’s job. The Hydraulic tank was insulated and heated with heat pads that were supplied electricity from a generator. Permafrost layers are between 6 to 15 feet making driving some of the toughest a vibratory driver/extractor could encounter. A 30 year crane operator from Florida that has put thousands of piles in the ground compares the permafrost layers to granite.
The APE 200-6 was recently rented to an experienced customer in HaiKou to drive double “Z” shaped sheet piles for a new dock project. Convincing new customers in China that APE equipment is of the highest quality available is never easy. Many years of competition in the market selling fake products, low quality products, and terrible service has left most contractors extremely weary to trust anybody. Even as a Tall 2.1 meter tall white speaking foreigner in China, it is not enough to fully convince contractors that our product and service is far beyond anything they have experienced in the past. This particular customer has either purchased or rented at some point every single vibratory hammer in China available from electric to hydraulic and local to import. Due to the extreme success of the “Octa-Kong” project for the HongKong-Macao-Bridge project to drive 22m (72 feet) diameter piles he decided to give us a chance. He figured that if we can drive 22m (72 foot) diameter piles we should be able to drive sheet piles. 24 hours prior to us receiving a down payment for a few months rent he received all call from our competitor saying he was making a grave mistake to rent our hammer to him and APE hammers would absolutely not succeed in driving the sheet piles to grade.
Our customer called me on the phone and said he was extremely disturbed by the call. Dan Collins and John White has told APE CHINA several times to rent our hammer for free if we have to prove to the market that we have the best product. I told the customer we would return 100% of the money if our hammer didn’t drive the sheet piles. He was so moved by what I said he said he would send 100% of the money within 20 minutes, he did without any extra modification to the contract. After the hammer arrived on the job site our service man Mr. Liu discovered that all of our engine oil from our Cummins 700 HP engine was gone. We all remember quite clearly doing a full service check of the machine prior to shipment and were shocked to discover that all of the engine oil was mysteriously gone after the first night on the job site. Mr. Liu, being the excellent service man he his, checked all fluid levels prior to initial startup of the power unit of the drive pump lube oil level, hydraulic oil level, radiator fluid level, diesel fuel level, and thank goodness the engine oil level.
After a wasted half day of replacing the engine oil, which we paid for, the hammer finally had the chance to prove it could work. The hammer ended up doing extremely well on the site driving 15 to 20 piles per day easily. Our customer was so happy with our service he wrote a full-page hand written thank you letter to our service man Mr. Liu and to APE for the excellent service given on the job site and high performance of the hammer. We are extremely happy to represent a product we all believe in, there’s nothing better than selling a product that you know is going to work. Go APE!
The Seattle Times just posted a news article this morning about the new 520 floating bridge project spanning Lake Washington just east of Seattle. The bridge has been in development for last couple years, with dry dock construction for the pontoon sections taking place in Aberdeen Washington (See Chris Wang’s article on the dry docks here). Construction on the actual bridge site has been in the prepping phases and is now ready for major foundation work which is slated to start next week.
The coming weeks will include huge foundations and concrete spans near shore, twin sloping transition spans that reach down to the lake, floating pontoons, and road decks fastened upon them. APE will be on the scene with a 600 Vibratory Driver extractor, the largest vibratory pile driver in the APE fleet will be pulling the outer casing for 12.5′ drilled shafts. We will also see an APE 200-6 driving the sheet piles for the cofferdams. See the Seattle Times new article here http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017862072_520bridge29m.html for more details.