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Site Equipment


The UK’s first fully-tested quick-hitch adapter for excavator mounted vibratory piling hammers

Two leaders combine their technical knowledge to develop a new solution to an old problem.

Piletec, a division of equipment hire specialist Groundforce, has developed, what it claims is a unique adapter designed specifcally to allow the safe atachment of vibratory piling hammers to excavators via quick-hitch couplers.

VibroSafe was developed in response to a number of incidents in which quick-hitch coupler adapters had failed, causing serious injury or signifcant near-misses. The many problems in recent years over quick-hitches has also resulted in stricter enforcement of new ‘best practce’ procedures. The free guide issued by the Constructon Product Associaton (CPA) is very useful. There may be further restrictions imposed by regulation but still is still under review. However, any developments that help reduce, if not totally eliminate accidents on site has to be given credit.

“Previous attempts to devise safe methods of fitting hammers with quick hitch coupler adapters have mostly been fairly Heath Robinson affairs” says Piletec director Bill Gorton. “They appear not to have been properly developed or tested and many of them can easily cause damage to the piling hammer and result in a serious risk to health and safety” he adds.

Two heads are better than one

Instead of taking the easy-fx route, Piletec joined forces with Miller UK, the market leading manufacturer of quick-hitch couplers, to design a safe and practcal soluton that is both CE-marked and approved by hammer manufacturers. Their aim being to produce an adapter that would eliminate the risk of human error by removing the need for the operator to manually insert locking pins or bolts after attaching the device to the quick-hitch. The adapter was also designed to comply with manufacturers’ recommendations, eliminate the risk of damage to the hammer’s swivel assembly and be compatble with both semi-automatc and fully automatc hitches.

“We also wanted to avoid the need for quick-hitch removal, which at the tme was the only fool-proof method of ataching a vibratng hammer to the excavator safely” explains Mr Gorton.

While other companies have used makeshif adapters, which were neither tested nor approved by manufacturers, Piletec has avoided any such solutons and preferred, for the sake of safety, to remove the quick-hitches before ataching the hammer.

“This is a very slow process and it put us at a commercial disadvantage – we lost market share” says Mr Gorton. However, two years of research and design has paid dividends by resultng in the only fully-tested, fully-approved adapter now available - according to Piletec.

“We spoke to Miller UK – who supply the majority of quick-hitches worldwide – and they came up with a basic design which we then developed together into what is now the VibroSafe” explains Mr Gorton.

Page 26 Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 2 No 2

Page 26 - cwuk-2-2

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