Sheet Piling (UK) debuts custom rig on Chester Zoo project

By Tim Aldred

30 Aug 2023

Sheet Piling UK Chester Zoo

Sheet Piling (UK) has put its new, custom-designed rig into action at a project at Chester Zoo.

The Preston firm was commissioned to build a permanent sheet pile retaining wall to facilitate excavation work in front of an existing stone boundary wall at the site of the zoo's giraffe habitat.

The work is part of a new African development, which will encompass the creation of an immersive rainforest biome sanctuary for animals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.

It is the third time Sheet Piling (UK) has carried out work at the zoo, and the first time it was able to employ its new TM20 LR long-reach rig.

This is Sheet Piling (UK)’s third long-reach rig and like its sister rigs, the 2018 TM12/15 LR and the 2021 TM20 LR, it has an 8.1m horizontal reach. Considered counterbalancing keeps it stable.

The long reach offers the advantage of allowing for sheet pile installation a full three metres further away from the pile line than any other rig in the UK. This removes the need for the building of  temporary access platforms and eliminates the significant cost and delay that facilitating a rig’s close proximity to an installation site can entail.

It also minimises disruption, which is a huge bonus for biodiversity and local neighbourhoods, and reduces the number of vehicles and site traffic involved in the works.

The long-reach rig concept was developed internally by Sheet Piling (UK), in conjunction with German rig manufacturer ABI, as part of Sheet Piling (UK)’s ongoing commitment to finding new solutions and improving the landscape of sheet piling.

The new TM20 LR has the same functionality as its 2021 counterpart, with a maximum driven and extracted pile length of 20 metres. This rig has proved its worth on construction and infrastructure projects, from highways to rail and from marine to general construction – across the UK, which made commissioning a second TM20 LR an easy decision, despite the considerable investment involved.

The rig was supplied by ABI Equipment, agents for ABI in the UK, and was delivered just prior to the Chester Zoo project.

In total, 84 pairs of EZ19-700 Emirates Steel Arkan sheet piles were installed using the brand-new TM20 LR. 

Andrew Cotton, Sheet Piling (UK)’s managing director, said: "The use of this rig at Chester Zoo could not be more apt.  Back in the 1950s, Chester Zoo’s founder, George Mottershead, adopted a motto of ‘Always Building’.  That motto is equally applicable to Sheet Piling (UK) which, since its foundation in 1996, has never stood still and continually innovated within the sheet piling world.

"With the third long-reach rig now in its fleet – our very own ‘giraffe’ –  Sheet Piling (UK)’s reach into the UK construction and infrastructure sectors should continue to be felt.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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