An invitation into the Piling Rig Cabin of Henrik Bergman

Case Study

Author: Arne Forsell

A number of pine shaped air fresheners – Wunderbaums – in colours of the American flag hangs from the right corner of the windscreen in Bergman’s piling machine. The MCP80 3D machine control panel from Leica Geosystems is securely mounted in the opposite left corner. It is robust, shock- and waterproof with clear markings and a large touchscreen. It displays the new Leica MC1 software, which is the common platform for all machine control solutions from Leica Geosystems.

Leaning back in the operator seat, in his stocking feet with earmuffs and dark sunglasses to protect against the sunlight, sits Bergman. He is surrounded by the machine’s displays and control levers. His wood clogs are neatly placed by the cabin door. The carpet inside the cabin is clean and well-maintained. Bergman’s workplace inside the huge piling rig is comfortable and cosy.

“Of course, I want to keep it tidy and make it nice in here,” said Bergman with a proud smile. “I actually spend more time in here than I do at home.”

Ground stabilisation for 700 new apartments

Machine control is used for piling machines for ground stabilisation.

Like a thunderous rhythmic heartbeat from a dinosaur, the piling rig drives the hoisted concrete piles down into the ground. The tower is 22 metres, the ram weighs 5 tons and falls from a height of 1,2 m. The concrete piles look almost fragile lying on the ground and giving in to the roughness of the ground surface.

They are taken one by one and hoisted up in the tower of the piling rig, directed into the guide rail by the skilful manoeuvring of the operator. The pile hangs almost apathetically in the machine before it is carefully and accurately hoisted down to the position that is programmed into the machine control solution. The first part of the pile is going easily into the clay-saturated ground, but the friction is gradually intensifying, and then the hammer is taken into use.

Another pile is attached on top of the first pile. The clay soil vibrates, and the piece of cushioning wood plate, that act as shock absorber between the two piles, catches fire due to the friction. Outside, the noise is almost painful, but Bergman assures that he is not bothered inside the machine.

“It’s actually worse when you are standing at a distance from the pile because the sound is bounced back from the surroundings, and the effect is magnified. Inside the cabin, I hear nothing at all,” explained Bergman. The rig operator sits relaxed in the operator seat and monitors the work on the MCP80 panel on the left side of the cabin.

The construction site Bergman is working on is placed in Enköping, north of Stockholm in Sweden, in the residential area of Älvdansen. The municipality is building 700 new apartments, a retirement home and a preschool. The company PEAB Grundläggning is contracted for the ground stabilisation, including piling. This is where Bergman and his piling rig equipped with the Leica iRP3 3D machine control solution enters the scene.

The project comprises 214 concrete piles. The pile pattern, including all information about the work, is programmed into Bergman’s machine control solution. Manual stake-out of the pile holes is no longer necessary, and Bergman uses the pile pattern on his display to navigate the machine to the correct position for each pile. The as-built documentation is also logged by the solution. This simplifies the daily work for the operator. Bergman and his machine can work more independently, and the time and costs savings are significant.

A dedicated piling rig operator

The bullseye view guides the operator to place the machine’s tool point in the correct position.

If you need hands-on advice from someone who worked with machine control for pilers, then Henrik Bergman is the right person to ask. He has been working with pilers for 14 years now, thanks to his father-in-law, Tommy, who started him in this business. Bergman used to work as a truck driver, but Tommy asked him to join the piling company he was working for at that time. Unfortunately, the company went out of business, and they both found themselves out of job.

Bergman was then employed by PEAB Grundläggning, and it was his turn to recommend Tommy to his new employer. “And the rest is history,” says Bergman with a smile.

In his hometown of Stora Skedvi, Bergman is the owner of a typical Swedish forest farm where he lives with his wife and two children. In his spare time, he enjoys carpentry as well as spending time in the garage with his two vintage vehicles, a Ford-49 that has won him a prize at the Elmia exhibition, and an A-Ford from 1928. Besides, if you look closely, among the tattoos on Bergman’s arm, a Hot Rod car can be found.

Saving time with machine control when piling underwater

Two years ago, PEAB Grundläggning was contracted for a project in the harbour of Hudiksvall, Sweden. This was the first project where the piling machine from PEAB Grundläggning was equipped with a machine control solution from Leica Geosystems. Since then, Bergman, his team and the Junttan piling machine took part in the pilot project for the development of the machine control solution – a project that Bergman has greatly enjoyed.

“Everybody in the team participated in the project, and Leica Geosystems listened to our opinions. We save a lot of time and costs because we don’t need surveyors on the site all the time. To manually stakeout, a pile can take up to 20-30 minutes for every pile. Today, we can do five piles at the same time,” explains Bergman.

Bergman describes another big project near Stockholm, connecting the island of Lovön to the mainland with a pipeline for water.

“The project involved 1 kilometre of 88 steel piles in pairs under the water supporting the water pipe. We worked together with divers, and we soon realised how much time we can really save, when working ‘blindly’ underwater and not having to wait for surveyors for every pile.”

After years of experience working with machine control solution from Leica Geosystems, Bergman has only good experiences.

“You can’t really wish for anything better. The system is unrivalled, keeps the costs down, and the software is easy to learn. I haven’t had any problems with the solution ever. Leica Geosystems keeps what they promise, and if PEAB Grundläggning buys a new machine in the future, it will certainly be equipped with a Leica iRP3 solution,” says Bergman.

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