Blog | Hydraulic Versus Mechanical Pile Breaking


Various factors should be taken into account when undertaking concrete pile breaking operations. In no particular order, three major points to consider are:

Cost | Health and Safety | Time

As with most construction projects, cost and time are inextricably linked as one will have a significant bearing on the other. Traditional pile breaking methods using heavy excavator hammers or hand held pneumatic breakers make the process labour intensive, running up many hours of demanding work. The uncontrolled and erratic nature of traditional cropping methods also carries a risk of causing concrete spalling and irreparable damage to rebars.

Added time inevitably means additional cost, and with conventional pile breaking taking on average forty five minutes per pile, it becomes obvious that costs will quickly spiral, especially when working on large construction projects. This is further exacerbated due to hand pile breaking being limited to three twenty minute sessions per day to reduce the risk of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). There is also a considerable environmental impact in terms of noise and ground vibration; a major concern when operating in populated or urban areas.

Hydraulic Pile Breakers

In contrast, Hydraulic Pile Breakers offset the negative impact of time, cost and safety by effectively addressing all three issues. The average pile can be cut in just three minutes; up to fifteen times faster than when using traditional methods. Furthermore, no operator time restriction is placed on pile breaking activity when using hydraulic pile breakers. Putting all this together means huge savings in terms of cost and time, with the health and safety benefits alone far outweighing the alternative use of hand held equipment.

As well as being fast and many times quieter; the operator controls the entire process from the safety of excavator’s cab. The pile breaker uses the excavator’s hydraulic system to give a clean accurate and controlled cut with minimal risk of rebar damage or concrete spalling: both of which give rise to additional cost due to the increased need for integrity testing, repair or replacement piles.

Mr Cropper

With the largest selection of pile croppers worldwide, Mr Cropper has a Hydraulic Pile Breaker to suit all applications: helping the construction industry to save time and money, as well as maintaining and promoting a safe working environment.