This new technology, culminating in the ASAP Sheetpiler machine, was developed in-house with the company’s Dutch partners, the Sterk Group.
The Sterk Group has been in the pile driving business since 1882 in The Netherlands, a country of which 60 percent lies below sea level. They key factor in the usccess of the ASAP Shettpiler is the combination of vibratory installation with hydraulic downforce and a telescopic boom, which creates a highly flexible, highly productive sheet pile installation machine with minimal impact on the environment as far as noise and vibrations are concerned.
Conventional sheet pile installation production is typically limited by size (moment and horspower) of the vibratory hammer. Because of its unique design, the ASAP Sheetpiler allows an additional downforce of up to 17 tons to be applied through the telescopic boom, thereby dramatically improving production. The design also allows for direction adjustment to keep the sheet plumb continuouisly during installation. The ASAP Sheetpiler has proven itself capable of productions to up to three times that of conventional installation methods on large projects over the past few years, according to company president, Simon den Tuinder.
“We performed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on Eglin Air Force Base where we installed a total of nine miles of sheet piles with productions of over 400-wall feet per day, reducing the overall project schedule by more than four months,” he noted.
Another advantage of the unique machine is that it uses a patented driving device capable of high frequency vibrations without the typical heavy vibrations inherent with conventional vibratory hammers during start-up and shut-down. This variable moment feature avoids vibration energy being applied near the soil’s resonant frequency, avoiding damage to surrounding structures. The system is extremely suitable in areas where existing structures are fragile.
“In these kinds of situations, the ASAP Sheetpiler is a good alternative to the much more expensive press-in systems,” den Tuinder said. “On several occasions we have been able to work with owners and general contractors to use the ASAP Sheetpiler in combination with vibration monitoring, in lieu of a press-in system, to successfully complete the project in a faster and more cost effective way.” On numerous projects, the ASAP Sheetpiler has been selected by Pinellas County as the preferred method of installation because of the limited impact on the environment (vibrations and noise) and low cost.
The innovative machine was designed with economics and flex-ibility in mind. Because of its configuration, the ASAP Sheetpiler requires only three people to operate – the operator and two ground men. One of the main advantages is its reach – up to 67 feet vertically and up to 50 feet horizontally. The driver features a quick dis-connect system and the counterweight with built-in power pack is self-erecting. The ASAP Sheetpiler can be operational within a few hours after arrival on the jobsite and is easy to move around. For situations where there is no room for a crane to install sheet piling, the ASAP Sheetpiler is the ideal solution with a footprint of only 20 by 20 feet.
Besides the technical advantage, ASAP relies on their expe-rienced and highly trained technicians, pile drivers and operators. “Due to the specialty of our work, it is very important to us to find the right people who are motivated and experienced in their field and it is our job to continuously train them and improve our overall performance,” den Tuinder said. “The management team is highly educated, has experience in the industry, both locally and internationally, of more than 20 years on average, combined with an in-depth knowledge of the market. We strongly believe in working together as a team, within our own organization and also with our vendors, clients and fellow contractors.”
Since 2006, the company has built solid relationships with ven-dors and suppliers as well as alliances with local general contractors in addition to some of the large construction companies in the U.S. “Repeat customers, in the form of partnership with our clients, is the most important success factor for our growth. As everyone in construction knows, plans and schedules always change, but dead-lines sometimes don’t. When that happens, it is important to have a partner on your team that realizes that and will continue to work hard to achieve the project goals,” den Tuinder explained. “Just like our equipment, we are focused on flexibility and continuing to stay focused on completing the project quickly, with high quality in a cost effective manner.”
Besides vibratory installation of sheet piling, ASAP also performs installation with impact hammers. Most recently, the company worked on two projects for the USACE, including both vibratory and impact installation of sheet pile with lengths up to 81 feet as part of the Everglades Restoration Project in south Florida. Currently, they are starting a project in New Orleans, La. for the USACE in a very sensitive area where vibration limits are critical and sheets up to 67 feet will have to be installed. ASAP was selected based on the combination of advanced technology and low cost.
The company’s philosophy, coupled with the competitive advantage the patented ASAP Sheetpiler presents in helping general contractors and an owner build their projects faster, more cost
effectively and with the highest quality standard, has helped propel ASAP to success.
“This has been very important to our growth and success during our start-up years, especially with the bad economic downturn the last few years,” den Tuinder said. “Because of the adverse economy we are especially proud to say that we currently have our biggest backlog ever due to our hardworking staff and innovative technique.”