‘Unbreakable’ screw anchor drives the foundation of successful screw pier contractor.
A man who spent years trying to break Digga screw anchor drive units now says he can’t run his business without them.
Geoff Taunton runs Gold Coast Screw Piers, a Queensland-based deep foundation system provider servicing more than 200 clients from Coffs Harbour to Cairns. Explaining the history of his business, Geoff told us:
"Back when Digga was still in the R&D phase they would give me a new test auger drive unit and tell me to go and break it. Installing screw piers and bored piers involves putting extreme vertical force on the piece of machinery attachment. It’s extremely harsh on the equipment, so it was really an ideal testing ground for the drive units. I would break the drive and tell Digga exactly what I was doing and what pressure it was under when it broke. They would use that information to improve the design, then give me a new one to break and the process would start again. These days it’s pretty hard to break a Digga screw anchor drive. For such a severe application, the success rate we see with our Digga drive units is nothing short of astonishing.”
A Digga drive unit powers the digging/boring attachment on a piece of earthmoving equipment. The power and efficiency of the attachment is directly related to the quality of the screw anchor drive unit.
The new generation Digga screw anchor drives are the culmination of 30 years of Australian design and development. They are optimised for the tonnage of the machine, making it simple to select the correct drive.
Screw piers or screw piling is an alternative to bored piers and traditional stumps where a hole is dug and filled with concrete. A screw pier is a heavy duty steel tube with a screw head at one end that allows it to be literally screwed into the ground. This approach minimises waste and mess, and it saves significant time on installation. Screw piers can also be adjusted once they’re in place, making them more flexible and suitable for almost any building style.
“We do screw piers for everything from swimming pools to 13-storey buildings,” Geoff said. “The idea is to transfer the load from the structure’s immediate footings down to an appropriate depth to create more stability and less movement. It’s ideal for earthquake zones and we’re looking to expand into areas like New Zealand in the next year or so". As well as being faster and more flexible, Geoff explains that the screw pier system is also cheaper than concrete piles:
“I’m lucky in that we have excellent market share, but it’s still incredibly important that we be up and running all the time. I can’t afford an equipment failure and the Digga screw anchor drives are absolutely essential to what we do. We can’t function without them. With all of the R&D they did and still do, I believe the Digga auger drives are basically unbreakable. When you match the right drive to the right machine for the task, no one can compete with the speed, efficiency and productivity these drives provide.”
Geoff says a regular maintenance schedule is all that’s needed to keep the Digga auger drives up and running, year after year:
“I’m still running the first drive I bought from Digga 10 years ago. A daily 10-minute maintenance regime plus a service from Digga at regular intervals is all you need to keep them working reliably. If I break an auger drive now it can always be repaired and put back to work as good as new. There’s no need to go out and replace your auger drives in the same way you would replace your excavators.”
Geoff now runs 18 Digga drives ranging from the smaller PD5 units to the UD300 for larger jobs. The augers are matched to a fleet of excavators that range in size from 3.5 tonnes to 35 tonnes.
Geoff says the unrivalled quality of the Digga drives is matched by its service.
“The service I get from Digga is perfect. I’ve tried others and they simply don’t measure up. They’re very fair, incredibly responsive and, most important, they stand behind their product so I know if I ever have a problem it will be resolved – and fast.”
Digga drives are designed and manufactured specifically for the harsh Australian conditions, where extreme heat, dust and hard soils are particularly tough on equipment. Digga manufactures its gearboxes in house to ensure world leading manufacturing processes, tolerances and quality controls through cycling testing and FEA analysis. As a result, Digga can offer the industry’s longest warranty on gearboxes at five years, plus a three-year warranty on motors.
Digga’s proprietary hydraulic motor and planetary gearbox means the drive units are compact and lightweight, require no case drain, complex hosing, valving or filtration and no detuning of the machine. An inbuilt pressure relief valve is standard on drive units for machines above 12 tonnes.
For more information on Digga screw anchor drives or other attachments, go to www.digga.com
For more information on Gold Coast Screw Piers visit www.gcsp.com.au