Welcome to the Alpine Blog

Precision rock removal with Alpine Rockwheel

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

May 31, 2016 4:57:16 PM

An interesting project is underway in the State of Indiana in the USA.  The contractor is using an Alpine D30 Rockwheel installed on a CAT336 excavator to precisely remove 4-ft of hard limestone shelf rock in order to place 96-ft long concrete box culverts in a river tributary.  The job required rapid and precise rock removal as well as a smooth, flat finished surface.  The D30 rock grinder was the ideal tool for this job.  Hydraulic hammers were not an option because of the rough irregular surface they create and inability to cut accurately within inches to get the final grade right.  A further benefit was the generation of ground rock which can be reused onsite rather than hauled away.  Alpine Rockwheels are the go-to tool for rapid and precise rock cutting.  See video:  https://youtu.be/a1PdLC_feac 



Topics: Excavation, Rockwheel

How to: Do's and Don'ts of Rockwheel Operation

Posted by Ryan Leech

May 29, 2015 11:00:00 AM


Operationally, the Rockwheel is a simple tool: push the button and the drums spin, rock is engaged and it starts cutting. To help operators get optimal work out of a Rockwheel, we made a short video on how to hit the "sweet spot" while cutting. Check it out!









Topics: Concrete Grinding, Rockwheel, How-to

Does your Hoe Ram do this?

Posted by Ryan Leech

Apr 21, 2015 1:30:00 PM

This is debris direct from a RockWheel G5 cutting on a concrete block. 

Quick cutting + usable backfill = $$$ saving




Topics: Concrete Grinding, Rockwheel

New video series for RockWheel Rock & Concrete Grinders

Posted by Ryan Leech

Aug 6, 2014 2:02:00 PM

We made some new how-to videos to assist in set up, installation and maintenance! Alpine Maintenance Video

Whether you're using a RockWheel to cut trenches or grind concrete, this short how-to will help you keep your unit in tip-top shape.



Click on the video below for the Rockwheel daily maintenance overview: 



Topics: Rockwheel, How-to

3 Reasons to Scale Loose Debris with a RockWheel

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Jun 2, 2014 7:30:00 AM

scale-loose-debris-rockwheel-cutterheadMass rock excavation projects are tall tasks that present many technical areas of difficulty and call for a certain level of professionalism. Different conditions dictate best practices at construction sites. Depending on how hard the surface is, and what elements are present in the soil, there are a variety of different directions crews can take to achieve the same results.

Sometimes the situation makes a more precise tool necessary, while other times there is no choice but to use large, powerful options. The different methods available all have different ramifications that change the way the job is handled.

Think About the Loose Debris Created

One such consequence that companies must take into account is the amount of loose debris that an excavator creates. This loose debris must be taken care of to ensure that the excavated area is completely safe for thoroughfare and additional work.

This finishing step in an excavation project is called scaling and normally follows a drill or blast project that creates a large amount of debris. This article will explore why RockWheels are the ideal solution for scaling after a drill or blast project.

Gain a Greater Sense of Stability and Safety

The underground mine scaling-RockWheel has proven its technical superiority to many customers who rely on RockWheel to keep their mine walls safe and stable after drill and blast operations.

Safety is a primary concern during these dangerous projects, and the RockWheel has proved itself to create the most stable and safe environment during scaling.

1. Advantage in Overall Utilitylimestone_scaling_web1

One of the biggest assets of a RockWheel is their utility.

The Rockwheel has a major advantage over a scaling claw or hammer simply because of the area of the cutterhead that physically interfaces with the rock.

Scaling claws and hammers simply do not have the same type of cutting width that RockWheels provide.

Rockwheels come in different sizes to best serve the conditions you are operating in on site.

Scaling jobs on hard rock like the Limestone we have here in Central Pennsylvania call for the larger and most powerful RockWheels.

These powerful RockWheels offer up to 4 feet of cutting width, which will greatly increase the speed of the scaling process compared to the rate of a single scaling claw.

2. Cross-Compatibility

Rockwheels are attachments that can be used on standard equipment, such as excavators, and although specialized scaling machines are somewhat common in the industry, they aren’t necessary.

We have years of experience outfitting scaling equipment with cutterheads and rockwheels.

We can help you finish the job without investing in specialized scaling machines, so the potential to use existing equipment is an advantage.

3. High Level of Efficiency

The last reason that a RockWheel is exactly what you need for your scaling needs is its high level of efficiency. The spinning rotary drums with teeth are an ideal system for scaling after drill and blast because the force of the teeth on the rock never exceeds 45o.

By limiting the pick interface to 45o and below, loose material is chipped off along fractures created by the blasting. The angular interface of the picks on the wall create very minimal over-breaking.

Minimal over-breaking means a clean, stable wall that leaves a scaling job well done.

If you are involved in a project that relies upon drilling or blasting, consider a RockWheel and see how it performs in scaling. 

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead


Topics: Rock Scaling, Rockwheel

3 Tips for Excavating a Foundation with a Rockwheel

Posted by Ryan Leech

May 26, 2014 7:30:00 AM


In a competitive industry such as construction, every detail matters.

This makes the planning and evaluation process so crucial. Construction teams do diligent work on the front end to evaluate the specifications of a project and submit a competitive bid.

By accurately determining the tools necessary to complete the job, companies take an important step towards setting themselves up for success.

A company that submits a winning bid has obviously done the requisite research to put together a viable plan, so what is the difference between successful and unsuccessful projects?

In any construction project, one of the most critical components to being successful is time.

Seemingly inconsequential details can drastically change the nature of a project by creating time-killing delays or by increasing efficiency.

This is especially true for excavation projects.

There are several reasons that using a RockWheel will provide you with a performance advantage over competing tools, but simply choosing to use a RockWheel will not make your project as efficient as possible.

Here are three tips for excavating a foundation with a RockWheel that will improve your efficiency and cut down on unnecessary delays.

Pay Attention to Operator Form

Ensuring that your operator understands the best way to operate a RockWheel will create a better, more consistent rockwall that will improve the quality of the operation.

Proper technique will also allow for a cleaner precision cut.

Precision cut footers or foundations mean less money spent on over breaking, rock crushing and backfill.  

Giving operator form the attention it deserves will save time and money.

Plan Out the Best Procedure

Since getting the best vertical walls will take some excavator maneuvering, it is important to plan out your procedure.

If you just start operating without planning your movement, you may start creating an uneven wall. Without the proper strategy, it is easy to create a situation that cannot be easily corrected.

By failing to create a proper game plan you will end up using more time correcting situations that could have been entirely avoided in the first place.

If you can identify the maneuvers you will have to perform, you can adjust your worksite to make those movements as fluid as possible.

This can be done by moving equipment and other objects to ensure the necessary pathways remain open.

Plan Muck RemovalJG_Rents_demo_023

Equally important to excavating the material is having a process in place to remove the excess excavated material.

The great thing about using a RockWheel is that this material will be finely crushed and can often be used as backfill directly on site.

Instead of the large, uneven chunks that are the result of using hammers, the excavated material of a RockWheel does not need to be transported.

This eliminates an expense from the project and it also saves valuable time, which will help meet deadlines.

Removing muck is a simple step in the project that is easy to overlook, but neglecting to have a process in place beforehand can result in a costly halt in production.

To prevent any unnecessary delays, detail a muck removal plan that can be implemented immediately following excavation.

By implementing these three tips you will get the most out of your RockWheel and take a big step towards becoming more productive and efficient.


Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead



Topics: Excavation, Rockwheel

How to Avoid Over-Breaking when Scaling Concrete Structures

Posted by Ryan Leech

May 5, 2014 12:16:36 PM

how-to-avoid-over-breaking-when-scaling-concrete-structuresDue to the nature of mixing concrete and its status as a composite material, no two concrete structures will be exactly identical and a variety of factors will impact how the concrete stands up over time.

Concrete is made by mixing cement, and aggregate materials such as sand and gravel.

The cement acts as a binding agent that fills in the pores and empty space of the aggregate materials to form a relatively lightweight composite material.

This process makes concrete comparable to conglomerate rock when it comes to determining the best way to handle construction projects that involve the removal of concrete.

Degrade from Weather Exposure

Generally over time, concrete will degrade due to exposure to weather and other factors that may include poor quality of concrete or improper finishing and curing. As the concrete loses its structural integrity it becomes weak and brittle.

This can make concrete especially susceptible to over-breaking.

There are several steps companies can take to limit over-breaking during the course of their project.

Preventive Measures Start with Employees

The first step to limiting the negative effects of over-breaking starts with the company’s employees. There is no single resource more valuable to a company than their employees.

A well-trained and reliable workforce can combat over-breaking simply by applying proper technique.

Good operator technique results in a smooth and consistent force applied from the RockWheel to the concrete. Little to no ‘bounce’ applied to the concrete will produce the best results. If the operator is a first time RockWheel user, let them get a feel for the capability and control before digging into the concrete structure.

Proper Excavator Set Up

Another small tip that can make a big difference is simply to make sure the set up on the excavator is optimal. We can check your settings and confirm that your equipment is primed to perform at the highest possible level for the conditions in which they will be operating.

Additional work in preparation can make a big difference during operation.

After these first two preliminary steps, there are also a couple of tips that will prevent over-breaking during your actual operation.

Keep an Eye on Pick Lifeconcrete_scaling2

During the process of scaling concrete structures an important area to keep your eye on is pick life.

For the best results and minimal over-breaking, picks should only be used while in good working condition.

It is easy for picks to face wear and abrasion which significantly diminishes their useful capacity. If the pick wears too much it can begin to crack which will decrease its efficiency and create over-breaking.

It may be tempting to try and save money by using picks as long as possible, but using a pick past its lifespan will produce inferior results.

As you progress through your project you will be able to tell how your picks hold up to the concrete and how many picks will be necessary to finish the project successfully.

The Presence of Rebar

Rebar is very hard compared to concrete and can cause pick cracking and increased wear. Always be sure, if rebar is present, that the picks have not broken out carbide tips or wear that is preventing optimal grinding.

By devoting extra attention to technique, operating life, and the composite material, you will be able to greatly limit the negative impact of over-breaking and enjoy success in scaling concrete structures.

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead


Topics: Concrete Grinding, Rockwheel

Does your hammer do this?

Posted by Ryan Leech

Apr 8, 2014 5:00:22 PM

This is debris direct from a RockWheel G5 cutting on a concrete block. 

Quick cutting + usable backfill = $$$ saving




Topics: Concrete Grinding, 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. 

The Ultimate guide to Rock Grinding

Subscribe for Regular Email Updates

Recent Posts