Screw Piles or Helical Piles have many application advantages for use. Most places a pile for support is required, a Screw Pile can be installed to a measured installation capacity. Whether it’s deck or addition support, foundation piles, portable structure support, tie-back retention, solar and telecommunication tower support or a multitude of uses in the oil and gas industry, helical piles have proven to be both an economical and effective alternative.
Screw Piles also known as Helical Piles or Helical piers are a very basic product. They consist of a shaft/pipe and a helix (which is much like a single rotation of a screw). Helical Piers “Screw Piles” were first used in England, invented and patented by Alexander Mitchell sometime around 1830. Some of the original installed piles installed in that era have been analyzed and have been found to have not lost any of their integral strength.
“Screw Piles” are installed at relatively low RPM with an increase in torque during installation. Sections are added as the pier is screwed into the ground. Once the predetermined depth and installation torques are reached the pile can be cut off and a load bearing plate or bracket is attached. With underpinning, this bracket can also be used to accommodate lifting the foundation to level building elements. The latter is a definite advantage over some of the underpinning systems available.
Installation of the piles can be done with anything from small portable equipment to varying sizes of machinery such as a backhoe or skid steer. During the installation of helical screw piles, crews will record the pressure on the hydraulic motor and with that, the torque can be calculated. This installation torque has been shown to have direct correlations to installed pile capacity. A reputable company will only use this installation torque as a confirmation to an already engineered pile design based on a soils investigation.
There are different manufacturers of Helical Piers and they are not all equal. Connection stiffness is of great importance as is pile design and stringent adherence to the manufacturing process. Our manufacturing company, Helical Pier Systems (HPS), dedicates considerable resources to their research and manufacturing process. HPS has offered engineering, manufacturing, equipment design, creation and distribution for helical piling products since 1977.
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