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Tricky situations can call for smaller rigs – Meet the Junttan PM16

By Jim Chliboyko

It’s not necessarily the largest piece of equipment available for the job that is always the best or most appropriate. Occasionally, smaller solutions can be equally or better suited. There are factors other than size and power involved with choosing appropriate equipment, such as portability, maneuverability, ease of use and even weight allowances on roads. In the case of pile drivers, sometimes the trickier the situation the job presents, the smaller the rig may be necessary.

Many have turned to the Finnish pile driver manufacturer Junttan and their PM16 model, a 37,000-kilogram machine, to get their jobs done. (The next machine in the Junttan lineup, the PMx20, is significantly larger, listed on the Junttan website as 55,000 kilograms.)

“[The PM16] has been a really good seller for us,” said Bruce Patterson of Canadian Pile Driving Equipment. “It’s a little machine with a big heart. It’s capable of driving upwards of 16 meters of pile length. Basically, the PM16 is the smallest, lightest purpose-built piling rig that Junttan makes. It’s big in Alberta at places like oil sands sites and pipeline facilities.”

The PM16 comes with a few options, such as an optional side drill or vibrator hammer. The tracks are also expandable and there is a self-erecting leader. The rig can handle wood, concrete or different kinds of steel piles, has a recommended hammer ram weight from 3,000 to 4,000 kilograms and was designed with a low centre of gravity to ensure stability.

Patterson also mentioned that the PM16 also comes with U10 hydraulic hammer, which produces 43,000 foot-pounds of energy, and he likes the engine with which the unit is equipped.

“It’s a Cummins engine, very reliable. It’s a fuel efficient machine, as well,” he said.

Those using the unit in the field are lauding the PM16 for the speed with which they can complete jobs using the model. Stephen Pearson’s work takes him to the oil fields of Alberta, where he has brought along his company’s PM16 to work on a number of projects.

“We had to do 400 piles at a condensate facility,” said Pearson, who works for Helical Pier Systems out of their Alberta office. “We allotted two weeks for the job, but we did it in one week [with the Junttan PM16]. It’s quick and it’s versatile.”

Helical Pier Systems is the largest helical pile foundation firm in North America. In Alberta, the company works largely in oil field construction, says Pearson, on projects such as natural gas facilities. They also do power transmission work and dabble in both commercial and infrastructure projects. The settings of jobs are an important factor, because where the job is located often determines the type and size of machinery that project managers are able to turn to.

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.