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Disturbance free rock cutting adjacent to existing foundation...Rockwheel drum cutters get the job done

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Jun 1, 2018 11:39:36 AM

With the economy on steroids this year there is tremendous construction activity all over the United States.  Washington, DC is no exception and we're seeing constant renewal where outdated buildings are giving way to new construction.  This means demolition and foundation work in close proximity to existing structures.  Care must be taken and disturbance minimized when working within inches (literally) of existing buildings which are occupied, functioning workplaces or residences.   

Rockwheel excavator mounted rock cutting attachments (sometimes called drumcutters or cutterheads) are an ideal tool when both accuracy and productivity must be achieved simultaneously.  In this case, a limestone bedrock foundation needed to be deepened immediately adjacent to an adjoining building footer.  To avoid the risk of damage to the neighboring structure hydraulic hammers were not an option because of shock waves and vibrations that would be reverberate through the rock mass and concrete.  This can result in cracks and unseen microfractures that weaken the foundation.

Clean 2-hose connection makes installation simple      Simple 2-hose system speeds up installation .  Note helix scroll on cutting drums

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                        Attack angle of picks shears rock , allows smoother cutting and makes reusable cuttings

 

Rock grinding attachments attack the rock in a very different manner than hydraulic hammers.  Unlike hammers (i.e. breakers), which go after the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of the rock, the shearing action of the rotating conical carbide picks (teeth) exploits the tensile strength of the rock which is 10%-15% of the UCS.  By "raking" the rock at 45-50 deg. attack angle an added benefit is creation of smaller rock fragments and these cuttings can often be used onsite as backfill without crushing.  This mechanical rock cutting or grinding results in significantly lower seismic disturbance which means safer rock excavation when close to buildings or other sensitive infrastructure such as gas lines.  Moreover, the degree of precision of rock or concrete cutting is exceptional.  Rapid and Precise are two words frequently used to describe the cutting action of the Rockwheel drum cutters.  Compared to other rock grinding attachments on the market the Rockwheel rock and concrete grinders have a optimal layout of teeth on the drums which results in a smooth cutting action.  This means less frequent stalling of the cutterhead, more continuous rock cutting and ultimately more CY/hr (m3/hr).  For exceptionally hard material when pick penetration is hampered a demolition drum can be used which features a helical depth limiter which prevents the tool from try to take too big of a "bite".  This less aggressive drum decreases vibrations and stalling of the cutterhead which means the Rockwheel is cutting rock a greater percentage of the time.

So...the next time you're faced with rock on concrete removal in a sensitive site where collateral damage is unacceptable give the experts at Rockwheel Americas a call.  We'll gladly work with your local excavator dealer to ensure optimal hydraulic set up for peak performance of the rock cutting attachment.  We have a national rental fleet and gladly work either customer direct or through your local equipment dealer.  We maintain an extensive inventory so units can be delivery typically in less than 1-week.  Rent, Purchase, or RPO (rental purchase option)...your call.  Dealers, we're always looking to building new relationships so call about our demonstration and consignment program.  www.alpinecutters.com 

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Topics: Concrete Grinding, Rockwheel, drumcutter, rock grinder, drum cutter, Antraquip, rock cutting

Low disturbance and rapid removal of concrete walls

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

May 14, 2018 6:28:55 PM

 

The Challenge:  Along a vital waterway managed by the USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers) a customer needed to remove several sections of 4-ft thick x 8-ft high concrete walls.  Concrete was unreinforced with a compressive strength of 4000-psi ( 27.5 MPa).  Vibrations needed to be kept to a minimum to ensure no disturbance to adjacent structures.  Access was limited to an earthen bench about 25-ft away on the opposite side of  a cut.  Hydraulic hammers would cause too much disturbance via vibrations and shock waves and were not permitted plus they did not have the capability to provided the desired profiled finished surface.  How best to remove these ?

Concrete monoliths that need to be carefully removed

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The Solution:  In consultation with Rockwheel Americas a model D20 Rockwheel (95hp) rock and concrete drum cutter was selected to be installed on a CAT320EL excavator.  The Rockwheel was in-stock and ready to go thanks to Rockwheel Americas extensive inventory and national rental fleet.  We advised the excavator technician on setting hydraulic flow and pressure for optimal performance.  It is always worth the time on the front-end to get the auxilliary hydraulics dialed in so drum speed (rpm) and torque suit the task while making sure multi-functionality on the excavator is not compromised.   The Rockwheel installation was  "plug and play" thanks to clean hose routing that matches that of the excavator hydraulic lines.  No case drain line required and no long hoses crossing the stick.

Rockwheel rotary concrete drum cutter in action

 

Performance:  The customer was very pleased with the performance and expects to speed up the process as the operator becomes increasingly skilled with the Rockwheel.  The high torque Rockwheel rotary drum cutter was the ideal solution.  Smooth and continuous concrete grinding was rapid and precise.  Moreover, after two 34-yd3 sections of the wall were removed the customer remarked: "teeth wear is virtually zero right now, tips look great after 2 monoliths".  High quality carbide conical teeth are always in-stock and can be overnighted anywhere in the country but we recommend keeping a few sets on the job at all times.  Clean up was easy thanks to a cutting by-product typically 2" or less in size.  Compare this to the blocky remains after hammering which are difficult to haul and dispose.

The base of the cut was smooth and flat, ready for the next phase of the job.  It's cliche but its all about "the right tool for the job".    Excavator mounted rock and concrete grinders are one of the fastest growing attachments on the market.  No longer a tool for mining and underground construction, these are a versatile attachments that should have a place in every serious contractors toolkit.  Add one to your arsenal.   www.alpinecutters.com  Rockwheel is the original rotary cutter...get only the best.

Remaining wall base after grinding by Alpine Rockwheel

 

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Topics: Concrete Grinding, Rockwheel, drumcutter, rock grinder, rock trenching

No Hammering?  No Blasting?  No problem! ... when you have a Rockwheel

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Oct 24, 2017 4:26:16 PM

Just last week I was in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on the western shore of Lake Ontario.  Beautiful part of the world.  Much of Hamilton is perched on karst topography which involves geological formations with  subsurface drainage, caverns and passages caused by dissolving rock, especially prevalent in limestone formations like the Niagara Escarpment.  We were at a site where underground infrastructure was being installed for water and sewer services.  This means trenching and you didn't have to go very deep until shelf rock was encountered.  Where it was permitted the contractor was blasting the rock.  Elsewhere hydraulic hammers were in use along with excavator mounted hydraulic rotary drum cutters (i.e. Rockwheels).  In some areas of the site, due to the presence of underground karst features, blasting and hammering was explicitly prohibited.  In these areas the only option was the Alpine Rockwheel drum cutter.  Rockwheels are the lowest vibration method of rock removal.  Precise and rapid grinding of the rock limits the disturbance to the surrounding rock mass.   A Rockwheel model G40 (200hp) was utilized.  Production rates varied depending where we were on the site.  Rockwheel rock grinders excel where there are natural fractures and weakness planes but even in the solid rock the rock cutting attachment got the job done.  The trench was cut to exact specifications with no overbreak which is a problem with hammers.  Cuttings could be reused as backfill saving hauling costs.   Rockwheel Americas a division of Alpine has a large inventory of units for rental and purchase.  Call 1-814-466-7134 or email info@alpinecutters.com to get more information.  You can alwasy find us online at www.alpinecutters.com 

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Topics: Cutter Heads, drumcutter, rock grinder, rock trenching

Rockwheel D20 trenching in West Virginia sandstone and blue rock...a microcosm on the paradigm shift in rock excavation

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Apr 13, 2017 6:40:13 AM

With winter finally coming to a close the construction season in the Mid-Atlantic region is picking up steam.  With this seasonal uptick we at Alpine Rockwheel are getting more and more calls as excavation contractors and engineers recognize the benefit of Rockwheels as an alternative to hydraulic hammers in many rock removal applications. Excavator mounted rock grinding attachments (Rockwheels) have reached a tipping point where it has become clear that something has been missing from the toolbox for economical removal of rock.

Here it is in a nutshell:  Ground strength varies along a continuum starting from soft ground that can be excavated with buckets (with or without ripper teeth) to extremely hard rock that requires heavy hammers or drill-and-blast.  Between these two extremes is a wide range of rock strength from approx. 1200 to 15,000-psi where excavator mounted rock cutting attachments are the most effective tool.  They are more efficient because:

  • Continuos grinding:  Less time re-positioning the tool compared to hammers
  • Higher production:  3-5x the producting of hammers in suitable rock (especially in layered rock!)
  • Precision:  eliminate overbreak and dont excavate more than you have to
  • Reusable cuttings:  ground rock can be recyled onsite as backfill or more easily transported

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Case in point is a recent rock trenching job in West Virginia.  The contractor had to trench through 3-ft of sandstone underlain by  3 1/2 ft  of blue rock (limestone).  In addition, they were crossing some existing utilites that could not be disturbed.   Knowing the limitations of hydraulic hammers in terms of ability to cut smooth trench walls and flat bottoms he decided to use a D20 Rockwheel hydraulic rotary rock grinding attachment.  Installed on a 20-ton excavator the Rockwheel exceeded expectations in terms of productivity and finished product.  In the photo below you can see the rock layers, smooth exact side walls, and a crossing utility line that was undisturbed.  

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Could a hammer have done this job?  Sure, but it would have been much less efficient and cost effective.   Hammers will always have a place in the the excavation of rock but the current paradigm shift is raising awareness that there is a better option for a wide range of rock types.  It's all about the right tool for the job and having a toolbox equipped with a range of options.

Alpine maintains a national rental fleet so you can try this equipment for yourself without a purchase commitment. Excavator dealers and rental houses can utilize our rental fleet to offer their excavators equipped with Rockwheel rock cutting attachments.    From our long history in the mining and underground contruction markets we are excited to bring rock grinding technology to your excavator!  Contact us to let us know how we can help.  Tel.  814-466-7134  email.  chip@alpinecutters.com  www.alpinecutters.com 

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Topics: Cutter Heads, Trenching, Excavation, Rockwheel

D20 Rockwheel for rapidly removes outcropping limestone....then grinds some large stumps!

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Mar 11, 2017 10:40:32 AM

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If you live in Pennsylvania, USA chances are there is underlying bedrock which at times is exposed at the surface as outcroppings.  This prevalence of rock (limestone, shale, & sandstone) presents a challenge for any form of earth work be it trenching (sewer and water), preparation of foundations for buildings, grading along roads, and even farming where outcropping rock can damage expensive planting and harvesting machinery.  

The traditional solution to this problem is to use hydraulic hammers.  While these tools can get the job done, drawbacks exist.  Hammers (a.k.a. breakers or hoerams) are very loud and have high vibrations which affects the surrounding rock mass and upsets neighbors. In addition, hammers are not capable of precise removal of the rock.  Overbreak is a common problem resulting in extra time and expense.  Moverover, the large chunks of broken rock cannot be reused without additional crushing otherwise it musted be hauled offsite which is costly.  There is frequently a need to remove only a thin layer of rock, say 6"-12", but with hydraulic hammers twice that can in inadvertantly removed.

There is a far more efficient and economical option.  Alpine Rockwheel rock and concrete grinding attachments are the solution.  These excavator mounted rock and concrete cutting attachments can rapidly remove the rock to a precise cut line (within 1"-2" with a skilled operator, or better when a depth control guide is used).    Moreover, in trenching or footer jobs, rock grinding attachments leave smooth walls, sharp corners and flat bottoms.  Trench profiles with rock cutting attachments are slot shaped compared to the V shape common with hammer.  This means you're not excavating unnecessary material.  Finally, you're left with a crushed stone that can be reused as backfill.

This winter a business owner in Shippensburg, PA wanted to expand his builiding but immediately adjacent to the existing struture was a 6-8 ft thick limestone bedrock outcrop in the way.   The customer decided to use a D20 (95-hp) Rockwheel excavator mounted rock grinder (Rockwheel) on a Volvo EC220.  The Rockwheel is powered by the standard auxilliary hydrualic kit of the excavator and installs like a hammer with a simple two line system.  With a peak torque of over 13,000 ft lb, the Rockwheel was very affective and made quick work of the rock removal.  The excavator operator quickly learned the correct down pressure to maximize rock cutting performance and was impressed by how smooth the D20 cut, espeically compared to using a hammer.  Once the main job was done, they installed a set of wood cutting teeth and removed several large diameter stumps. 

All in all, it was a very successful job!

 

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Topics: Cutter Heads, Excavation

New mine scaling drum outperforms the competition!

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Dec 19, 2016 2:26:47 PM

In a head-to-head trial the Alpine Rockwheel model D30M (mining version) hydraulic rock cutting attachment was found to cut smoother, stronger and more continuously when compared to a competitive unit the customer was testing.  This was an ideal comparison because the same excavator, operators, and rock types were involved, minimizing variables.  The smoother cutting was largely attributed to the drum shape and pattern of teeth on the cutting drums.  A higher density pick lacing with optimal spacing for limestone rock was developed by Alpine specifically for this type of mine scaling job.  In addition, Alpine made sure the drum speed and torque were optimized.  Other features of the D30M include:  heavy duty housing, square drive shaft, simple 2-hose system, integrated water sprays for dust suppression, and innovative valving to protect the hydraulic motor.  

There was less wear and tear on the excavator and the consumption of carbide teeth was signifiantly lower which offers signifiance savings and minimizes downtime.

Hydraulically driven rotary cutterhead attachments are rapidly gaining popularity in  underground drill-and-blast operations.  Mine manages tell us that excavator based rock cutting machines reduce scaling time by 50+% saving several hours per day.  In addition, there is less hand scaling and the need to re-scale an area because of failed inspections is practically eliminated.  

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Alpine Rockwheels represent the most advanced and robust hydraulic rock grinding attachments on the markets.  Excavator mounting rock cutting machines are available for carriers of all sizes from 2 to 100+ tons.  Contact us at www.alpinecutters.com to see how these tools can improve efficiency in your operation.

 

 

 

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Topics: Rockwheel, Mining

G45 Rockwheel takes 14,000 psi rock to task in New York wastewater treatment plant construction

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Nov 1, 2016 9:51:49 AM

Two 200-hp G45 Rockwheels installed on CAT349 excavators have helped the contactor complete a challenging rock excavation project in New York state.  Geo technical data indicated rock to be in the 14,000 psi range.  Because they were excavating next to an operating treatment plant, hammers and explosives were too risky because of possible collateral damage.  In addition the rock excavation went right up to newly set caisson walls and concrete support pillars.  The G45 rockwheels were favored because of low disturbance to surrounding structures and becasue of their ability to cut continuously.  In additon to the two G45 Rockwheels a smaller AX20 and D10 were used where even more precision was required.  Excavator mounted rock cutting tools from Alpine Rockwheel are available world wide.  www.alpinecutters.com

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Topics: Excavation, Rockwheel

Alpine D10 Rockwheel Cutting Potash

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Oct 6, 2016 4:23:26 PM

The Alpine D10 Rockwheel is the tool of choice for cutting potash.  Here you see the tool working in the Canadian potash mines for scaling, floor leveling, and trimming the back (roof) of the tunnel network.  This 40-hp (30-kW) cutter is part of the Rockwheel product line that ranges from 13 to 300-hp.
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Topics: Tunneling, Rockwheel, Mining

High precision rock removal with D30 Rockwheel

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Aug 9, 2016 7:10:33 PM

The Rockwheel D30 is getting some great press from down under.  Extremely precise rock grinding with minimum disturbance to the adjacent material.  The same applies to tunneling work and concrete removal on sensitve structures. Alpine stocks the full line of Rockwheels for excavators in every size class.  Rental rock grinders are always available as well so you can try them on your equipment at your jobsite.  The Rockwheel will prove its worth!Australia.jpg
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Topics: Roadheaders, Tunneling, Excavation, Rockwheel

Alpine Rockwheel in Construction Equipment Magazine

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Jun 14, 2016 10:58:45 AM

 

The word is getting out. See our recognition in Construction Equipment Magazine.   Alpine Rockwheels are the go-to tool for rock removal when conditions are too hard for ripping with a bucket yet not so hard that heavy hammer is needed.   Rockwheel rock and concrete grinders are the right tool for the job between 1000 and 15,000 psi rock.  In fracutred rock, they are exceptionally effective.  

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Topics: Rockwheel

About this blog

This blog is a resource for research, how-to's, and general news regarding rock grinders, transverse cutter heads, roadheaders, and alternatives to hydraulic hammers. 

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