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BTB 53: 880D in Construction Applications

Tigercat 880D is configured for more efficient foundation pile installations.

– Chris McMillan

In February of 2020, BTB visited Valard Foundations in Winnipeg to see its 880D loader equipped with a screw pile attachment being used to install foundation piles for Manitoba Hydro towers. The brisk -35˚C (-31˚F) weather didn’t deter crews from surveying and drilling helical piles for the hydro towers being installed near La Broquerie, Manitoba. The installations are part of the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project which will see a 500 kV transmission line installed from the Dorsey Converter station near Winnipeg to the US border in southeastern Manitoba. The line will connect to the Northern Transmission line at the border and continue to the Iron Range station, northwest of Duluth.


880D installing a foundation pile


The crews are using a Tigercat 880D, equipped with a Digga UD300 anchor drive attachment, capable of applying over 305 000 Nm (225,000 ft-lb) of application torque to the pile. Valard fabricates the 13 m (43 ft) piles which are attached to the anchor drive head and screwed into the frozen ground.

The boom geometry of the 880D along with the position of the cab gives the operator excellent visibility on all sides of the machine. Compared to an excavator, the 880D can handle longer piles without modifications. Expensive hydraulic modifications are also required for excavators, where the 880D is easily adapted. Screw pile function controls are pre-loaded and can be selected in the machine’s electronic control system.

Valard acquired the first 880D in the summer of 2018 and then a second in the fall of 2019. Both machines are equipped with the same anchor drive attachment and are working within a few kilometres of each other.


880D installing a 45 degree angle foundation pile

The 880D can handle screw piles up to 15 metres (50 ft) long.


Wajax Winnipeg branch manager Ken MacWilliam feels that the 880D will increase in popularity with utility contractors. “Other than the increased hydraulic fl ow, the advantage is that the 47-tonne excavators can handle the 9 metre [30 ft] screw piles, but with the boom and stick configuration of our 880Ds, we have the capability of installing 15 metre [50 ft] screw piles. This greatly increases the machine utilization and productivity in regards to the hydro tower installations across the province,” says MacWilliam.


 

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