Foundation, Concrete and Earthquake Engineering

Pile Drivers-its Role in Construction Industry

With the upsurge of real estate industries across the globe, the role of construction houses has gained significance. When it comes to construction of buildings, laying the foundation is of primary importance. For laying the foundation, a substantial portion of the ground is dug and pillars are inserted inside. For this purpose piling is required. Piling is the process where a tripod structure is inserted inside the ground with the help of a hammering device known as pile drivers. Pile drivers are manually operated and sometimes with the help of power.

A pile driver is operated either by manual labour or sometimes takes the help of diesel or hydraulic force. It is a process that is developed on the principle of converting mechanical energy into kinetic energy. 

The pile drivers are of several types and their usage varies from case to case. As we are aware, there are several forms of piling viz. wood, steel and concrete piling. Pile drivers are used for all of the purposes. They are used for laying the basic foundation for developing buildings or for renovating old constructions. They are also widely used in docks, bridges, oil platforms.

Nowadays, traditional air hammers are being replaced with hydraulic ones. Hydraulic hammers are more eco friendly as they emit lesser noise compared to traditional ones.

There are three main types of pile drivers used in factories namely diesel hammer, hydraulic hammer and vibratory pile drivers. In case of diesel hammer, there is a cylinder that consists of steam driven ram. The ram consist a piston with a striking head. Initially, the piston is raised and is allowed to fall by gravitational force. This activates a fuel pump which releases a specified amount of diesel fuel that gets deposited in a cup formed at the top of anvil. Gradually, the ram piston blocks the exhaust ports and begins compression. This very compression creates a force on the anvil, the drive cap and the pile. The ram strikes the anvil and releases energy to the pile. 

On the other hand, vibratory pile drivers are generally powered by hydraulic motors and have a system that can rotate weights. A vibratory pile driver consists of electric motor, coupled with a vibration exciter with unbalanced weight loads and a hydraulic driving cap.  

In some of the pile drivers, the electric motor is not attached with vibration exciter but is connected by means of an electric suspension. Vibratory pile drivers are again of two type viz. low frequency machines and high frequency ones. The low frequency machines have a frequency of 300 to 500 per minute where as the high frequency have a frequency of about 1500 vibrations per minute. In case of a vibratory pile driver, the shafts are set to rotate by an electric motor as a result of which a centrifugal force is being created. This causes the pile drivers to vibrate. The vibrations are directly dependent on the quality of the soil, weight of the pile driver itself, and angular velocity. As the rate of vibration increases, the soil undergoes residual deformation and the pile slowly gets inserted into the ground.

A Pile Driver is a necessary equipment in construction industry and its varied use on different spheres makes it an essential aspect for most factory operations. (ArticlesBase SC #379847)


  1. A hydraulic hammer is a modern type of piling hammer used in place of diesel and air hammers for driving steel pipe, precast concrete, and timber piles. Hydraulic hammers used because they are eco-friendly and is more efficient than others .

    Bruce Hammerson

    Hydraulic Installation Kits

  2. Hi
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