Driven Piles

Driven piles used to support foundation systems

What Are Piles?

Piles are structural columns that are advanced by some means into the soil. Driven piles have supported foundation systems for thousands of years.

It was about 5,000 years ago when the people of ancient Scotland invented the first pile driving device. The device required both manual and animal labor to lift a heavy weight and drop it onto a pile made of timber — which was the most common type of pile for centuries.

Recent History

As English innovators brought wood preservation techniques into existence in the early 1800s, others were developing the first steel piles. In the mid-19th century, Otis Tufts was credited with inventing the steam pile driver in the U.S.

Concrete piles came into use in the early 20th century, although driven steel piles became the most commonly used materials for providing deep foundation support for light and heavily loaded structures.

Today, most piles are made of the same basic materials; wood, steel and concrete. However, many improvements have been made in the overall material treatment, against deterioration/corrosion, and devices used to drive them into the ground.
Driven Piles used by Power Lift as methods for foundation support and repair

Installation

There are five primary methods for installing modern piles:

  • Impact
  • Vibratory
  • Bored
  • Torqued
  • Hydraulically jacked

Each of these methods involve displacement piles which means the material beneath the pile tip is displaced laterally and vertically downward as the pile is installed with the exception of bored piles.

Jacked and Torqued Piles

Since 1986, Power Lift has used jacked and torqued steel piles to solve our customers’ foundation issues.

Jacked piles are installed by using a hydraulic ram to advance the pile downward, using an existing “dead load” element (usually the foundation itself) to push against. This method is best suited for remediation of existing structures.  Jacked piles can accommodate an infinite amount of weight, if the appropriate counter resistance is available.

Power Lift has designed and patented a variety of systems for hydraulically jacking piles into the soil to provide needed foundation support. Our methods allow us to advance piles to infinite depths — as well as unlimited capacities.

Torqued piles, typically referred to as helical screw piles, are twisted into place much like a screw into wood. A torque motor turns the pile, while helical plates attached to the lead section essentially “pull” the pile downward.

The Power Lift Advantages

Our materials and methods have many advantages when compared to our competition:

During Installation

  • Fast, efficient, single-step installation in most weather conditions
  • Able to conduct installations in limited access areas
  • Our methods produce little noise
  • No set or cure time needed
  • Ready for immediate loading
  • No vibration to the structure or adjacent structures
  • Enhanced capacity of piles thanks to the low number of stress cycles within the surrounding soil during driving

And there are many more reasons Driven and Torqued Piles have been used for more than a century:

Efficiency

  • High rate of production
  • Reduced labor = cost savings
  • Easy to transport
  • Premanufactured/assembled
  • No requirements for electricity or water
  • No third party inspections required
  • Minimal equipment required

Engineering

  • Capacity for compression, tension or lateral loads
  • Load verified capacity
  • Fully engineered
  • Modifiable
  • Deep support disallows additional settlement
  • Not impacted by the presence of ground water

Environmental

  • Varying geology has no negative effects
  • Adaptable, deeper stratum-deeper piles
  • Suitable for virtually all soil conditions
  • Minimal site disturbance/minimal dust
  • No drill tailings or spoils
  • No impact on groundwater
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Can be manufactured from recycled steel
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