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Ryan Leech

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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

Watch the RDC 22.20 Working in 60" Headroom

Posted by Ryan Leech

Apr 16, 2015 11:00:00 AM

RDC Demo Robot with Rockwheel G5Alpine RDC Robot equipped with G5 RockWheel excavating hard ground beneath a sensitive structure.

The RDC Robot was a zero emission solution and was the only machine suitable for working in the confined space that was limited to 60-inches of headroom.




Learn More about the RDC


Topics: Demolition Robot

How Deep into Rock Will a RockWheel Cut?

Posted by Ryan Leech

Apr 14, 2015 10:30:00 AM

deep_cutterheadWhen you are placing a bid on an excavation project there are an abundance of factors that you are taking into consideration.

There are concerns about the geographical location of the project site and the conditions you will potentially face and what equipment and manpower will be necessary to complete the task to the customer’s highest level of satisfaction.

One piece of equipment that is extremely useful in a variety of excavation applications is a cutterhead.

Like most tools, cutterheads come in a variety of options, including specialized custom cutterheads available for particularly challenging or unique situations.

Cutterheads offer numerous advantages over simpler excavating products such as hydraulic hammers.

The enhanced functionality of a cutterhead will give you more precise control over the quality and structure of your Rockwheel_foundationexcavationexcavation projects.

In addition to better overall performance, cutterheads also have the ability to lower costs and improve the efficiency of your project as well.

How deep will a cutterhead cut?

Today we’re going to look specifically at one aspect of cutterhead performance that is important to excavation projects, namely, how deep will a cutterhead cut?

The short answer is that cutterheads theoretically have the ability to operate at any depth, but they are dependent on the excavator or carrier machine they are attached to for reach and depth.

The power and rate at which a cutterhead operates should be constant, so the biggest restriction to a cutterhead’s ability to cut is how far the carrier machine can physically put the cutterhead into the ground.

This means the machine type will obviously have an impact on how the cutterhead performs. Knowing what excavator or carrier machine you have will affect the scope of your project.

Know beforehand what type of excavator or carrier machine you will be attaching your cutterhead to and you’ll be able to determine how deep your cutterhead will be equipped to cut.

Different machines have different capabilities, and even factors such as the machine’s weight and dimensions will change the way a cutterhead performs.

If you have any specific questions about an attachment or need help installing a cutterhead, feel free to contact one of our team members here at Alpine.

There are a few other factors that will directly impact the depth at which a cutterhead will perform.

These include the specific type of cutterhead you select as well as the surrounding conditions of the project site.

The soil type and the surrounding landscape such as the presence of fault lines, utility lines, and any other obstacles will have a direct correlation to how deep the cutterhead can safely excavate.

Cutterheads have the capability to operate at any depth you need to get the job done, and most scenarios will need to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

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



Topics: Cutter Heads, Trenching, Excavation

Alpine TC-B2 on site, ready to roll

Posted by Ryan Leech

Jan 30, 2015 11:44:57 AM

Our ace tech Jeremy looks on after installing a TC-B2 on a Cat318. The site required rock removal but without the heavy vibration that either a hammer or drill/blast would create.

Best solution: Alpine Cutterhead.

Alpine TC-B2,  75hp cutterhead


Topics: Construction

Precision Concrete Scaling in Wet Conditions with a Rockwheel

Posted by Ryan Leech

Dec 16, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Concrete Dam Scaling Alpine TC-DOne of the more challenging excavation site conditions is the removal of concrete in wet conditions.

The presence of water can drastically reduce the efficiency of an excavation operation by severely limiting the capacity of equipment. To finish these projects in a timely manner, the tools used for the job become very important.

The requisite amount of planning and preparation inevitably increases when dealing with wet conditions. In addition to determining what equipment decisions will result in the best work, greater attention to scaling and the slope of grades is needed to ensure that the project will proceed safely at an efficient pace. In situations that call for concrete scaling in wet conditions, an ALPINE drum cutter is usually the best tool for the job.

ALPINE drum cutters are precise and powerful instruments that are specifically designed to improve control in scaling. Whether you are operating in wet or dry concrete, drum cutters will provide you with the ability to handle the excavation efficiently. Our cutter heads limit the impact angle between the cutter bits and the surface to create a smooth wall that leaves the underlying concrete undisturbed. This prevents the development of micro-cracks and ensures the material remains sound.

Depth gauges are also available to assist in the process of measured scaling. Depth gauges can be used to check top plate angles and cutter length which allows you to limit how deep the cutter head can go into the concrete. If you are looking for improved control, using a depth gauge with your ALPINE drum cutter will provide the improvement you’re looking for.

Excavator2ALPINE drum cutters are well equipped to limit excavation volume. Whether working in wet or dry conditions, our cutter heads have the ability to improve the efficiency of your project by crushing concrete to a fine enough size that it can be used as fill matter on site. No further crushing is necessary which means costly transportation expenses are eliminated as well as additional costs associated with further crushing.

Using an ALPINE cutter head will simplify your project by reducing the unnecessary steps that notoriously waste time and expenses. The bottom line results in a more efficient worksite that saves you valuable time and money.

ALPINE cutter heads are also viable options for projects that require underwater scaling. This would be valuable at a site that included a dock or marine facility. It is only a simple matter of using one small oil plug swap to make the cutter head water tight and then the cutter head will work with the same functionality it provides in dry applications.

The power and precision afforded by an ALPINE drum cutter makes it the perfect solution for scaling in wet conditions. These carefully designed cutter heads are the logical choice for sensitive removals that require a certain amount of precision. With the superior control the cutter head provides, limiting excavation excess, and the flexibility to work underwater, ALPINE cutter heads are the solution for your next concrete project.     

Ready for more information?



Topics: Cutter Heads, Concrete Grinding

Using a RockWheel for Limestone Scaling

Posted by Ryan Leech

Dec 1, 2014 9:54:00 AM

Alpine 150hp Rockwheel in Limestone quarryTrenching and mass rock excavation projects come complete with a unique set of challenges. Each surface has certain qualities that make different cutter drums better equipped to accomplish the task.

Some situations call for smaller and more precise attachments, others call for large heavier options. One specific scenario that can be challenging for excavation projects is the cutting and removal of limestone.

From a technical definition, limestone is a sedimentary rock that principally consists of calcium carbonate. Due to the many forms limestone can be found in, it is known to vary in hardness. In most of our local applications, the limestone that is found is incredibly hard. The greater hardness levels in these limestone deposits call for heavy duty excavators with large attachments that provide enhanced stability.

Another challenge associated with limestone is that it is commonly found in shallow water.

This means that you need a drum cutter that is durable enough to handle the hard limestone and is equally efficient underwater. Alpine drum cutters and cutter heads are specifically built to not only handle the difficulties of grinding and cutting, but to also be easily fitted to perform in underwater scenarios.

Our fully waterproof systems are guaranteed to perform at highly effective levels in either fresh or saltwater. We are also able to offer some custom solutions if your situation calls for extraordinary equipment applications.

Alpine drum cutters are extremely helpful pieces of machinery that make the entire drilling and cutting process easier. Our broad footprint of cutter drums, power, and large number of teeth make them highly effective options.

One of the more difficult stages of excavation projects involves scaling. Scaling is the finishing step in a drill or blast project when all loose rock and debris is removed to make the interior of the tunnel or room safe for thoroughfare and further work.

This process is a critical step in ensuring a safe work environment. Our smooth, vibration-free machining action effectively completes the job without disturbing the foundation or creating micro-cracks. This results in a smooth wall that is consistent and durable. To have the smoothest scaling possible equip yourself with an Alpine drum cutter.

Limestone provides a variety of challenges for excavation projects, but we're happy to help you with everything you need to handle the job.

Our drum cutters are used in high-production underground limestone quarries across the United States and are also being operated for scaling in underground storage facilities.

Alpine drum cutters have even been used successfully in the removal of limestone in underwater applications.

Our wide variety of drum cutters include heavy attachments that work with large excavators that produce a more stable, less bouncy effect. If your next project involves the removal of limestone, check out ALPINE’s drum cutter selection to find the attachment you need to complete the job.

Learn everything you need to know about our cutter heads:download-rock-and-concrete-grinding-brochure


Topics: Cutter Heads, Rock Scaling

How a rock grinder can boost efficiency and reduce cost.

Posted by Ryan Leech

Nov 13, 2014 9:30:00 AM

cutter-head-trenchingEach construction project provides a unique set of circumstances and challenges that calls for creative solutions to meet your goals and deliver on your objectives. The most successful projects are the ones that strike the delicate balance of finding solutions that lower cost without making concessions on quality. For excavation projects that confront you with the toughest rock and concrete structures, rock grinders can be a useful tool to help reduce your cost while increasing efficiency.

Rock grinders, which can also be referred to as cutter heads, are a precise and efficient way to grind and crush rock. They attach cleanly onto the end of existing excavators and operate by employing the hydraulic lines of the machine to which it is attached.

When configured correctly, the cutter head makes quick work of grinding and crushing rock. Rock grinders offer incredible precision. Designed to make powerful even cuts, rock grinders are also capable of cutting with a high degree of accuracy. This gives you greater control over your operation and allows you to cut until your exact specifications are met.

Rock grinders are the ultimate precision tool to allow you to work within precise dimensions without collateral destruction.

A great example of this is the TC-D cutter head with a cutting force of nearly 18,000 foot pounds. In one case it was employed for a water line trenching job in soft rock of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The cutter head replaced a hoe-ram attachment that was simply poking holes in the rock, and wasn't making good progress. The TC-D exhibited excellent trenching efficiency and cut vertically into the desired width. 

In addition to effectively cutting rock and concrete, rock grinders are also efficient when it comes to cleaning up the debris. When using a rock grinder, rock rarely needs to be hauled off site to be crushed further. The grinder produces a much more consistent waste product than traditional methods like hydraulic hammers. Rock grinders are also exceptionally precise, meaning that one only grinds as much rock as he or she needs. The condensed waste translates directly into saving you both time and money.Rockwheel_foundationexcavation

The efficiency provided by rock grinders does not come at the price of power. Each individual rock grinder is composed of tough carbide teeth that are fitted on rotary drums. This fitting makes them extremely durable.

Rock grinders are exceptionally resistant to wearing out. Unlike some other applications, rock grinders can be counted on for more than one project before needing to be replaced. Being able to use a rock grinder for multiple projects that involve a variety of surfaces makes rock grinders a valuable investment. Alpine rock grinders provide an unparalleled combination of efficiency and durability.

If you are searching for a versatile tool that can increase the efficiency of rock or concrete removal in sensitive areas, then an Alpine rock grinder could be just what you need. Alpine offers a full line of rock grinders that are sure to be suited to your unique situation.

Grinders can be selected on the basis of size and horsepower to ensure that you receive the best option available.

Our dedicated team of experts is readily available to provide you with assistance every step of the way. Lower the cost and increase the efficiency of your next project by calling today.



Topics: Cutter Heads, Concrete Grinding, Trenching

Cutterheads for Safe and Effective Scaling on Bridges and Dams

Posted by Ryan Leech

Nov 10, 2014 9:30:00 AM


NYstate_damscaling2Cutterheads are used primarily for trenching, tunneling, and scaling applications. In scaling, the use of a cutterhead offers both a safe and effective method of scaling large structures like man-made bridges and dams. Through the use of a transverse cutter head, areas that are normally tough to access like bridge abutments and structural areas of dams can be rehabilitated effectively. Let's take a look at some of the cutter heads uses.

Scaling Uses

More specifically, cutterheads use an impact angle placed between the tops of the bits on a cutter, or what we often refer to as “picks.” It is truly amazing how precise and delicate such a forceful piece of machinery can be.

The cutterhead has a very smooth action that is entirely free of any significant vibration, and has a relatively low amount of noise, especially for such a powerful machine. In application, the cutter head scales a surface, but its bits manage not to destroy or create additional structural problems, such as micro-cracks in the concrete.

Beyond the scaling of large structural masses, the cutterhead can, and is used for scaling debris after blasts. For instance, most often, an attachment is used to knock out chunks of concrete after any drilling and blasting is performed, which is just another example of how versatile a cutter head can be in terms of scaling objects of all sizes.


The performance of a cutter head is most synonymous with large structural operations, for instance, a municipal dam, or an interstate bridge. These are the jobs that a cutter head thrives on. In the process, the cutter head will operate at a relatively low speed, somewhere between 60 and 120 rpm. However, the machine's high amount of torque gives it incredible precision and effectiveness. Many cutter heads also have a big drum, which allows them to cover a large surface area when scaling a tall structure.


Using a cutter head for scaling, it is especially crucial to keep the machine's maintenance up. Things like greasing the drum once or twice a day is critical to the performance of the machine when meeting the rigors of a scaling job. Drum greasing, along with daily gear oil, bolt, and hydraulic system checks will ensure that the cutter head is able to consistently scale and perform on the most challenging bridges and dams.

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


Topics: Cutter Heads

Long-reach concrete scaling with a Rockwheel

Posted by Ryan Leech

Nov 6, 2014 3:21:36 PM

We get this question a lot: "how far can these things go into the ground" or "will the Rockwheel work on a long reach excavator?" 

Answer: Yes! There is no depth restriction, heck we've even had cutterheads working several thousand feet underwater. And this photo below shows a very long reach excavator running an Alpine Cutterhead on a recent job concrete scaling in a canal rehab project. The concrete was drilled at the maximum depth of the removal, as a stopping indicator. Next, the majority of the concrete was removed with a hydraulic hammer. Finally, the cutterhead scaled the remainder down to tolerance. This gave the wall face a solid, clean finish that could easily resurfaced.

Long reach excavator concrete wall scaling

Long reach excavator concrete scaling2


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


Topics: Concrete Grinding

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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