BSP piling hammer delivers elite solution for DART project

VolkerFitzpatrick and Kier are jointly undertaking the £225 million (US$283 million) Luton DART construction project in Bedfordshire, UK. The DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) will provide a rapid link between Luton Airport Parkway rail station and the London Luton Airport terminal building, transferring passengers in less than four minutes.
BSP piling hammer delivers elite solution for DART project BSP piling hammer delivers elite solution for DART project BSP piling hammer delivers elite solution for DART project BSP piling hammer delivers elite solution for DART project BSP piling hammer delivers elite solution for DART project

Elite Sheet Piling is using a BSP DX-SP25 excavator-mounted impact hammer on a project at Luton Airport

Duncan Moore


Duncan Moore

Funded by Luton Council's airport company London Luton Airport the fully automated transit system will open in 2021.

The VolkerFitzpatrick/Kier venture is responsible for building and completing the civils works for the Luton DART Parkway and Luton DART Terminal stations, the Gateway Bridge over Airport Way, a viaduct leading from the Luton Parkway station and tunnels and approaches to the airport terminal.

VolkerGround Engineering, part of the VolkerFitzpatrick Group, was awarded a £1.5 million (US$1.9 million) contract to install concrete piles on the project. The piling works included reinforcing full-length 1,050mm diameter piles, to a depth of 20m, for the central terminal.

VolkerGround Engineering has also completed the installation of 750mm diameter CFA piles to the Parkway section.

Elite Sheet Piling, which has been sub-contracted by VolkerGround Engineering, is installing multiple sheet piles and cofferdams along the route of the works, right up to the end of the runway. Sheet piles up to 12.5m in length are being installed to a depth of 10.5m, to provide ground security in the predominantly chalky soil, as the project climbs the hill from the rail station to the airport.

Elite is driving the piles initially with Movax side grip piling equipment and completing the task with the new BSP DX-SP25 excavator-mounted impact hammer mounted on a Volvo EC380EL crawler excavator.

The DX range of hammers from BSP International Foundations has been developed to drive steel sheet piles, though they can be adapted for use with concrete, timber, tubular steel and small bearing piles if required.

Mounted on a crawler or wheeled excavator, the DX-SP25 can be rapidly deployed from a horizontal transport position to a vertical operating position, with no requirement for a crane to assist. During piling operations, the DX hammer is automatically guided or crowded in the vertical plane.

There are three models in the DX line-up - the DX20, the DX25, and the larger DX30, offering drop weights of 1.5t, 2t and 2.5t. Maximum impact energy is 20kNm, 25kNm and 30kNm respectively, while blow rate at rated energy for all the models is approximately 60 blows per minute.

The hammers have low hydraulic power requirements, requiring just 130-170L per minute of flow and can be operated directly from an excavator. They are also available with a range of BSP Hydro-packs for optimum hammer performance.

"We went with BSP for the reliability, the quality, the strength of the hammer and the good name of the company," said Elite's managing director Carl Ingram. "It's been working brilliantly. I really can't fault it.

"The DX-SP25 can be interchanged between any of the three larger machines when required," added Ingram. "We are also in talks with BSP for a smaller hammer, to work with our smaller excavators, as part of our plan for continued growth."