Award for Equipment Innovation

This category is open to any company that can show excellence through new product or technology development for the ground engineering industry between January 2023 and January 2024.

Entrants must demonstrate how the innovative new product or technology has delivered benefits in health and safety, in-use performance, sustainability or cost during on site delivery of a geotechnical project. Evidence to show how the product or technology can improve the performance or quality of service that the purchasing company offers to its clients is essential.

Cementation Skanska
60 MN maintained load test system (MLT60)

The MLT60 is a new pile load testing system with the capacity of a bespoke, “mega-test” solution within a reusable, modular frame. It is not, however, simply about capacity, rather it is the culmination of multiple innovations which deliver safety and productivity benefits alongside the significant performance gains. Its design eliminates manual handling and complex lifting as well as ensuring the stability of the frame whilst being built and under load. High quality pile load testing plays a vital role in improving our understanding of pile behaviour, allowing us to realise cost and carbon savings from efficient design. Cementation’s investment in the MLT60 and the attention to detail in its design will ensure that the benefits of pile testing can be fully realised across the industry, both now and in years to come.

CGL PASS Service:
Passive Acoustic Seismic Surveys for Geohazard Assessment

CGL are working closely with clients to develop innovative methods of characterising site geohazards whilst being conscious of the ever-increasing desire to reduce costly, time-heavy and environmentally exploitive impact of conventional intrusive investigations. CGL are using a highly portable seismometer (Tromino™) to assess a multitude of geological conditions encountered in ground engineering; providing non-intrusive, environmentally conscious, and cost-saving results clients are eager to obtain. The Tromino™ is a passive-seismic (acoustic) geophysical instrument that measures and records earth’s background seismic ‘noise’ which can then be processed, modelled, and interpreted to estimate thickness/depth to bedrock and identify a variety of geohazard anomalies within the ground profile. CGL have developed a Lines-of-Evidence approach to use non-intrusive methods as a first stage investigation where sites are prone to geohazards. The Tromino™ has played a key role in this multi-data approach providing a valuable new data stream for ground assessment.

Aquisense - new cone penetration testing tool

Fugro has developed Aquisense, an all-encompassing hydrological probe which provides more accurate and representative data. This technique expands on the abilities of the conventional electric cone penetrometer with an additional port, capturing hydrological properties with a single push. These real-time measurements can be used to identify areas for Mini Pump Testing (MPT) and Anisotropic MPT (AMPT) to determine the horizontal and vertical permeability, anisotropy and storavtivity of the site. This innovation has applications in the design of levees, flood control structures, remediation, water management and can be used for groundwater calculations, improving design and construction, therefore leading to extended asset life. Optimised design of Aquisense has led to decreased material requirements, minimised fuel usage, personnel and machinery maintenance as well as significantly reducing CO2 and NOx emissions. It also provides faster, less invasive and more accurate characterisation contributing to reduction in risk and project cost up to 50%.

Excalibur Jack-up Barge Innovation on Codling Wind Park Ground Investigation

Fugro was contracted by Codling Wind Park to undertake a geotechnical investigation at the Main Array and Offshore Substation areas for the proposed Codling Offshore Wind Farm. Due to the significant operational considerations that were required to deliver the works safely in this section of the Irish Sea, Fugro knew we needed to design and manufacture additional specialist pieces of equipment. After determining the works would be best completed by using our 55m legged, self-elevating jack-up barge versus a drill vessel, bespoke innovations were created to be able to complete the works with operational efficiency. These included a hostile environment rising case system, sliding drill deck on the jack-up for multi-point locations, specialist casing handling equipment to facilitate rapid drilling and casing embedment equipment. This was all designed and fabricated by our in-house engineering team, and saved the client time and money without compromising on data quality.

Warning Plate Monitor Measure and Rock Fall Alert

Warning Plate Device is a innovation has already demonstrated and obtained evidence how helped to prevent accidents by rock falls in underground mining resson of has been accepted and requested quickly by the mining sector and recently published in the Canadian Mining Journal (Edition November 2023)

Liebherr Great Britain
Floating unit operation & pile tilting device for crawler crane s

A world-first operating mode for crawler crane operation on a floating unit (pontoon, barge). The system provides dynamic monitoring of slewing forces that can occur during barge operations due to the variable movements of a floating platform. The optimised load curves provide a significantly safer operation and better utilisation of the cranes' load chart vs standardised de-rating values. In combination with the assistance system the Vertical Line Finder supports the crane operator to minimise possible diagonal pull while lifting or lowering the load. The pile tilting device offers a safer and more efficient system to lift and handle piles with the unique ability to control the tilting angle of the piles 90° (from horizontal to vertical). This eliminates the risk of shock loading and lateral forces on the crane vs conventional single hook vertical lifting, and full control of the pile during handling and positioning on site.

Marshall Drilling
Multi-Purpose Rotary Drilling Mast

In 2023 Marshall Drilling, completed the design and build of a first of its kind, multi-purpose rotary drilling mast. The mast has been designed to enable attachment to any excavator >9 tons in less than 30 minutes, enabling it be used for a variety of applications from slope working through to the coring of tunnel crown linings and over water work. Significant research and development has been completed to ensure it not only performs but also confirm to all UK safety regulations. The end goal was to provide a service to the UK GI market which would help reduce both cost and commercial risk as well as allow projects to be completed more safely. 

SB3 - Bachy Soletanche & Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering JV
Support fluid displacement hopper for use in Rotary piling: Bentonite displacement hopper.

The Bentonite displacement hopper is a simple engineering design that has been proven to really improve the Rotary piling process where previously difficult and challenging ground water conditions existed. It provides many small benefits that culminate in one big advantage at low cost. It is conical in shape but flat sided to permit a safe interface with an adjacent piling rig. It eliminates safety issues by preventing wet slippery platforms, it eliminates material wastage by preventing overspilling, it prevents contamination of the environment by containment, it eliminates the need for building up platforms in flood plains reducing material requirements and meets Environment Agency requirements to main flood plain capacity, it removes the need for costly and disruptive dewatering to reduce ground water levels and finally reduces design risk by maintaining high support fluid pressures at all times during the construction of the pile.

SB3 -Bachy Soletanche & Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering JV
The Cross Cutter: a tool that eliminates manual handling of scooping out wet concrete.

On HS2 lots N1 and N2, the SB3 JV developed the cross cutter piling tool to improve the efficiency and quality of the reduction of the rigid inclusion pile heads that were overpoured past their design cut off level to PPL. This was required to mitigate the settlement (slumping) of concrete levels due to extremely difficult and unpredictable ground conditions. The tool coupled with a mini piling rig can set up over recently cast rigid inclusions and “Mills” the concrete column down to design level from PPL to depths of up to one metre and within 10mm accuracy without disturbing the adjacent piling mat. Milling usually takes place within 5 to 7 days after concrete placement. The process is safe, eliminates labour intensive operations of manually adjusting wet concrete levels and produces a high quality and level finish to the pile head. Small process refinements can make a big difference!

Select Plant Hire
Test Pile Instrumentation Protection

Damage to Pile Test instrumentation is recognised as a significant issue in the Piling industry and can significantly compromise the outcome of pile tests. This is an expensive problem with typical pile tests costing between £150,000 and £300,000, but the instrumentation which the test relies upon costing less than 1% of this figure. Expanded Piling and Select Plant Hire, working in collaboration with consultants WSP and instrument suppliers Geosense, have developed a low cost protection system which dramatically improves pile test outcomes, whilst significantly improving H&S for the instrumentation installers. "