American Transmission Co. has developed a new method for installing transmission structure foundations that it says is faster, safer, more economical and more environmentally friendly than traditional installation methods. Solo-Driver is ATC’s new, patent-pending method for installing foundations using a vibratory hammer.
To date, the utility industry has largely relied on two methods for installing transmission structures when a concrete base is not needed: direct bury and traditional vibratory installation. With Solo-Driver, now there is a third choice, according to ATC.
Solo-Driver is the first method of its kind to employ a single excavator equipped with a vibratory hammer for foundation installation. For this method, caisson foundations have been modified to include side tabs that the vibratory hammer grasps. Using the tabs, the hammer lifts the foundation from where it is pre-positioned horizontally on the ground, rotates it vertically into position, and vibrates it into the ground to the required depth.
“This new method is a game changer in transmission line construction,” says ATC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Davis. “Solo-Driver is just one part of ATC’s commitment to excellence in transmission planning, construction and innovation, and we are excited to announce this new technology and share it with our transmission partners.”
Solo-Driver can provide significant cost savings over traditional installation methods due to reduced labor costs, reduced equipment costs and increased efficiency. It has been shown to cut costs by as much as half in optimal conditions.
Solo-Driver purports to be safer than other methods.Traditional vibratory and direct bury installation methods require crews to manually position the foundation using one or more cranes and guiding cables. With Solo-Driver, the excavator and vibratory hammer maneuver the caisson, and safety interlock jaws on the hammer prevent it from dropping the caisson during installation, even if power is temporarily lost.
Solo-Driver has fewer environmental and landowner impacts than other methods. It requires significantly less equipment, which means less weight, resulting in minimal ground disturbance. It is also much quieter compared to other methods and requires just half of the overhead clearance of traditional methods.