According to the UN’s 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, the construction industry accounted for over 34% of energy demand and around 37% of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021.
To reduce emissions from the sector, one area of heavy-duty machinery that needs decarbonizing is pile driving rigs. These machines are used for piling in or making piles in foundation engineering, so they are essential when building the foundations of buildings and other large structures. However, while other construction machines like excavators, cranes and wheel loaders joined the electrification revolution relatively early, pile driving rigs have lagged behind, with only diesel or hybrid rigs on the market pre-2021.
A world-first project
Junttan is a Finnish business that designs and manufactures hydraulic piling equipment. It decided to build the world’s first fully-electric pile driving rig, driven by the belief that its customers should be given a sustainable option when purchasing the equipment. The company was also conscious that EU regulations were increasingly pushing for emission-free machinery, and the energy crisis was making the need for alternative sources of energy only more pressing. A low-emission, diesel-free option on the market would soon become essential rather than a nice-to-have, and Junttan was dedicated to providing this solution.
No fully-electric pile-driving rig had been developed before, which made the project particularly bold. Additionally, heavy-duty equipment such as pile driving rigs can be challenging to decarbonize due to their considerable size and weight. Pile driving rigs typically weigh around 70 tons, so finding a flexible solution to power such a heavy machine for a full working day was a particular challenge.
Building a solution without compromises
Junttan selected us to supply our PMI375-T1100 series motor after being impressed with our portfolio of sophisticated electric drivetrain systems. Our expert team were also recruited to offer technical support to the company in selecting drive components for the machine.
Junttan also chose another Finnish company, Hevtec, an engineering company specializing in electric and hybrid system design and integration, to supply the complete electric driveline design and control system.
The delivery timeframe for the project was tight, which posed our first main challenge. However, thanks to our vast portfolio, we already had all the components that Junttan needed, so we could guarantee a short delivery time. Hevtec also played a crucial role in electrifying the machine, which it was able to achieve quickly due to the company’s strong electrification expertise and ability to seamlessly merge with the Junttan team.
Our collaborative approach was also important - we built a strong network with Junttan and Hevtec, which was helped by all parties being based in Finland, making communication swift. Our existing partnership with Hevtec and Junttan, both of which we have collaborated with on many projects before, meant communication ran especially smoothly as the trust and understanding of each other’s working processes were already in place. This combination of factors meant the tight delivery time was met successfully.
The second big challenge was powering the large, heavy machine, especially because Junttan wanted to deliver a rig that could perform multiple maneuvers for any length of the workday. Our solution was to offer a flexible concept - the resulting PMx2e rig can be powered fully electrically with our powertrain system by generating power from a battery pack at the rig’s rear, where the counterweight would typically be found.
Furthermore, to ensure the rig can work all day without pausing to recharge, it is powered by two separate 396 kWh battery packs that can be replaced during the day if needed. By choosing a detachable two-battery system instead of one bigger fixed battery pack, charging can be done overnight with a standard 63A mains outlet so both batteries are ready the following day. Additionally, the state-of-the-art battery packs can be charged with 250 kW of power via CCS DC-quick charging, enabling even more flexibility and an extended range for future worksites. In this way, we were able to build a solution that is reliable, easy to operate, and as effective as any diesel-powered pile driving rig.
The PMx2e surpasses its predecessors in some aspects. Unlike a diesel machine, the fully-electric rig can deploy multiple functionalities at the same time, which would cause a diesel rig to slow down significantly or even stall completely. Moreover, noise pollution is massively reduced by switching a noisy diesel motor for a battery pack. This greatly improves working conditions for operators and site workers.
Junttan estimates that the PMx2e saves up to 47 000kg of CO2 per year compared to similar diesel powered models when the rig is charged from renewable sources. During the rig’s life cycle of 16 years it will save 379 480kg of CO2, which is a 95% reduction compared to a diesel machine when charged from renewable sources.
A quick delivery and multiple orders
The PMx2e entered series production in 2022 and has already been delivered to three customers in Sweden and the Netherlands, with a fourth to be delivered later this year. Since entering operation, no significant issues have been reported and customers have already used the rig to complete high-level projects, showing the full capability of the machine.
“Working with Junttan to create the world’s first fully-electric pile driving rig has been a real privilege,” commented our director of off-highway Antti Väyrynen. “We’re committed to delivering the technology to enable a carbon-free future, including leading the way towards a sustainable construction industry.”
“Our new fully-electric pile driving rig demonstrates our commitment to helping our customers build a more sustainable future,” added Tommi Lehtonen, CEO of Junttan. “After a year of research and development, we’ve successfully brought a sustainable replacement for the widely-used diesel engine deep foundation machine to the market. The PMx2e will empower our customers by massively reducing their CO2 emissions and environmental footprint.”
PMx2e, the world’s first fully-electric pile driving rig
|Powering and assisting in the design of the world’s first fully-electric pile driving rig, the PMx2e
Average working weight: 64 000 kg (149 914 lb)
Leader capacity: 16 000 kg (35 300 lb)
Optimal hammer size: 3-6 tons (6000 - 12 000 lb)
Max pile length: 20 m (66 ft)
Winch capacity, hammer: 12 000 kg (26 455 lb)
Winch capacity, pile: 10 000 kg (22 000 lb)
Engine power: 266 continuous kW (357 continuous hp)
Engine type: Danfoss EM-PMI375-T1100 series motor, ABB HES880-series inverter
Undercarriage, length: 5 100 mm (200 in)
Undercarriage, width: (900-mm shoes) 3 200 - 4 700 mm (126 - 185 in)