Concrete pile driving is a high shock, high force process … and high stress for the pile driving crew as well. The tradeoffs made by this team include minimizing the time to drive the pile by using maximized driving forces, with the possibility of breaking the pile. The familiar tradeoff is quality versus time. On a pile with no dynamic testing instrumentation, the only quality assurance is the driving criteria, pile inspector blow counts, and visual inspection.
The hope is that the driving criteria limits the possibly of pile damage… but most of the pile is not visible, and what is happening at the tip of the pile which is well out of the visual inspection capability of the entire crew, is, at best, a BIG guess. Driven foundation quality control should not be one based on hope…
Externally mounted gages can help, but they slow the driving process down and provide no real visibility to the pile tip. SmartPile™ EDC addresses this problem by making the Pile the sensor. With gages at the top AND the tip, EDC can monitor stresses and report impending failures. Tip status has proven particularly critical when punching through various soil and rock strata.
The SmartPile™ Measure Pile Integrity metric uses readings from the Top and Tip of the pile (compression as well as pile pre-stress) and wave dynamics to report and flag the operator when stresses to the pile exceed established limits. This allows the drive to progress at the fastest speed possible without damaging the pile.
In the event that the tip has encountered problems (i.e. loss of pile pre-stress as indicated by MPI), the crew can now limit any further damage to the pile. MPI, along with pile capacity, allows the crew to quickly and safely drive a pile to capacity while minimizing stress and physical pile damage. This process has been successfully demonstrated in Florida on several projects.
Only the SmartPile™ EDC system can provide this level of monitoring as it is the only Structural Surety System that embeds gages directly into the pile.