National Pile Croppers aids construction of world’s largest monopile factoryPublished 12/9 at 13:00
An Anglo-German joint venture comprising of Keller and Bauer is mid-way through the piling contract for the construction of a £450million offshore wind monopile manufacturing facility in Teesside, England.
Bauer Keller Joint Venture (BKJV) was appointed by SeAH Wind to install approximately 1,500 bored piles and 5,500 continuous flight auger (CFA) piles. National Pile Croppers has been contracted by the principal contractor, K2 Construction Management, and sub-contractor, Rainton Construction, to provide the pile cropping equipment and expertise as well as round-the-clock customer support.
The world’s largest monopile factory is being built on a 90 acre site at Teesworks, adjacent to the new £109m South Bank Quay. The giant facility – over 800m in length and 40m tall – presents a range of design and construction challenges including its scale, low energy design and a challenging completion deadline. When operational, the factory will provide 105,000m2 of high quality factory space for the production of up to 150 monopiles per year. Maximum monopile sizes produced at the site will measure 120m in length, 15.5m in diameter and weigh 3,000tons. It will be the UK’s first XXXL monopile manufacturing facility producing monopiles that form the foundations of offshore wind turbines and is set to create 2,250 jobs in the local supply chain during construction.
Thousands of concrete piles
A factory of the size being constructed is going to need a great many concrete piles, requiring, at present, 1,500 bored piles and 5,500 continuous flight auger (CFA) piles. Heading the day to day work on behalf of BKJV is the world leading construction consultancy, K2 Construction Management (K2CM), which has appointed as the contractor for the piling (and cropping) local firm, Rainton Construction. The latter has significant experience in developing bespoke solutions for industrial, manufacturing, process and distribution sector clients, having worked in factories, power plants, warehouses and other highly specialised facilities.
The bored piles range from 1,050mm to 1,180mm in diameter and are being sunk to a depth of 35m below ground level. The CFA piles are a mix of 600mm, 750mm and 900mm diameter and go down to 28m. All the piles will be placed precisely and will require cropping to level. “The concrete piles not only have to be placed incredibly accurately, but also must be cropped to the correct design level. This may appear to be a relatively straightforward element to the project, but it has to be done efficiently, accurately and safely. And, vitally, the factory must be completed to the exacting time frames set,” explained K2CM’s senior construction manager Ian Black.
Pile cropping expertise
In order to crop the concrete piles accurately, productively and safely, Rainton Construction called in their usual provider of hydraulic pile croppers, National Pile Croppers. “We have an excellent and longstanding relationship with Rainton Construction, which is a prominent and respected company in the Northeast. The cropping part of the project must work hand in hand with other parts of the operation and requires coordination to ensure that the correct number of piles are cropped daily. There is no room for inaccuracy and downtime,” says National Pile Croppers sales manager, Scott Fitchett.
Rainton Construction currently has four National Pile Cropper CFA units on hire, three standard and one HD for 900mm and 1,050mm piles. “The CFA is a traditional linked modular cropper which can be adjusted to suit required pile sizes. Using the provided lifting frame ensures that there is minimal restriction. It will cut circular augured concrete piles from 300mm to 1,200mm in diameter. Adjustments of 100mm at a time can be achieved easily by adding a half link without any hydraulic interference,” explains Scott, who adds: “As Rainton Construction will soon be reducing 1,200mm piles, another cropper will be arriving on site shortly.”
Dave Elliott of Rainton Construction, part of MGL Group, adds to Scott’s comments: “We’ve found the croppers supplied by NPC to be highly efficient. They are proving to be an essential piece of kit on the development. Although the croppers have proved themselves, what has really stood out is the aftercare from National Pile Croppers. Many companies just deliver their kit and leave you to it. Scott and his team spent time with us ensuring we knew how to get the best out of the croppers; Scott will visit site regularly and there is also a proactive NPC service visit weekly. Added to that is that we have a named contact at the NPC office who can deal with any queries we may have.”
“Our knowledge and experience were essential to us providing the pile croppers for this world leading project. However, Rainton Construction has really been impressed by the overall care we have provided; our reaction times have been brilliant, essential to the success of this project,” adds Scott. “It’s a site that really does require constant care and attention in order to ensure that the project proceeds properly, and to ensure that Rainton Construction gets the service it requires, we need to be on point. I have visited the site on multiple occasions and National Pile Croppers provides weekly service visits. We have provided support from the off which is now allowing Rainton to speed up the whole process and keep on track with its client,” concludes National Pile Croppers’ Scott Fitchett.