ABI Mobilram Completes Tough Project

abi mobilram university of illinois hughes constructionWhen work began on a new computer science building at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus, some local construction professionals thought the soil conditions were too tough for piling installation. They didn't know Bob Hughes and his ABI TM 18/22 Mobilram system.

The owner of Hughes Construction, a small California company that specializes in driving sheet piling, was contacted about the situation by Hammer & Steel's Bob Laurence, and came to Illinois to see for himself. Hughes won the bid as the piling subcontractor and tackled the project some thought could not be done.

Because of the density of the soil (glacial till with a high unconfined compressive strength Qu > 4), Hughes found that in some places it was necessary to pre-drill. His crew used the flexibility of the Mobilram to pre-release the soil for 90% of the piling length, then drove the 50-foot pilings to grade. The pre-drill pattern employed by Hughes allowed the spoil from the current hole to be deposited in the previous hole, ensuring that the integrity of the sheet piling "toe" was maintained. The company also drove 60-foot piles for a three-sided cofferdam and installed a waler system. The project that "couldn't be done" was completed in early December 2001 in just five weeks.

This project is just one example of why Hughes is sold on the ABI Mobilram, which he says is a "far superior way of driving pile." He's had the TM 18/22 on a long-term rental/purchase plan from Hammer & Steel for 18 months and uses it as his primary tool in a variety of places, from oil fields to highway work. "It's been dependable, with no down time, and has had an excellent safety record," said Hughes.

One key benefit is that the Mobilram reduces crew size and the number of pieces of equipment needed. The machine can be operated by a crew of two or three, compared to the seven or eight needed with standard equipment.

"The Mobilram also allows us to be much more intricate in how we can install sheet piling, H-beams and plates," Hughes said. "It's 50 to 60 percent more productive, and you can be more accurate as to where you locate the piling. And we have the ability to connect cells and turn corners efficiently."

Quick set-up is another benefit. "The Mobilram allows us to move onto a site, set up and go into production in less than 90 minutes," Hughes noted.

Hughes also commented favorably about Hammer & Steel staff. "They are great people to deal with. They are easy to call to get information or help in getting parts. That's one key to success," Hughes added, "having parts and technical help at your fingertips when you need it."

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