We are asked from time to time, how to select a Guardrail or a Solar Pile Pounder.
These days, there are so many brands on the market that contractors can’t evaluate a guardrail machine and solar pile driver from the brochures any longer.
The brochures are full of a large number of specifications, and what do they mean?
“What should I look for in a Pounder?”
I have been in the industry for some 40 years, which I tell our clients.
Ensure that the Pounder you’re buying has got universal parts fitted, which means you should be able to source parts anywhere within your country.
You need to ensure you have the latest model engine. Some manufacturers are putting new runout machines into their machines to lower the cost to get sold.
A runout engine parts are typically hard to find as manufacturers only keep parts for a few years after the production runout.
If you are purchasing a machine for Europe, it needs to be a Stage V engine as of January 1, 2021. For the US it needs to be a tier 4.
The Hammer’s oil flow, the oil flow to the Hammer, must match the Hammer’s input values; otherwise, you will find you will not get the full potential from the Hammer. [example 1500j hammer fit may only give you 1200j]
It would be best if you look for a high-speed hammer. Again, ensure it matches the available hydraulic oil flow to the Hammer. Low oil flows equal to poor performance. Aim for high flow specifications. Several machines on the market work well, but the Hammer’s speeds are slow, which means the driving is equally slow. It’s all about install speed in the field!
Oil pressure is critical. Always go to the high-value oil pressure as well as the oil flow.
Some pounders on the market aren’t capable of running a rock drill due to inadequate oil flows. Check to ensure that the Pounder can have a drilling attachment for rock drilling.
The industry is now moving into high-tech GPS controlled systems for piling; therefore, the hydraulic system needs to be compatible. Some cheaper model pounders use inferior hydraulic blocks and valves to lower production costs; these machines are not always upgradable.
Most Pounders should be serviceable locally, and these machines move from location to location quickly.
Your Pounder needs to be able to take the punishment of installing hundreds of thousands of posts. So you need to ensure the Pounder is strong enough to handle the harsh environment.
It’s all about oil flows, oil pressure, and the design’s strength of the frame. Keep it simple, and you will not go too far wrong.
If you like some further advice, please do reach out to us.