Vroom goes for sustainability

For Vroom Funderingstechnieken B.V. (Vroom Foundation Technology), in the guise of Materieelbeheer Vroom B.V. (Vroom Materials Management), keeping a finger on the pulse of developments, along with investment in ‘clean’ engines and reduction of emissions (from diesel and other sources) is nothing new. The TIER (US) and various Euro Stage emissions standards, have been followed since they first came into effect. Over the years, we have made substantial investments in the acquisition of new plant and equipment, always in step with the latest technical requirements.

Vroom was already a pioneer in the 1980s and 1990s. The on-site stationary concrete mixers, primarily used to make vibrated piles were fed by electro-hydraulic power. And that was a logical choice, given the stationary nature of these machines, which had many benefits: low noise, low vibrations and fewer diesel engine emissions. However the electricity supply on site often seemed to be insufficient, which led to regular disruptions. The fact that these problems appeared to be lasting, combined with a healthy urge to become self-sufficient, as it were, led us over time to make the transition largely to low-noise stationary concrete mixers driven by diesel hydraulic power units.

Emissions

If we consider sustainability and emissions, the focus over the past few years seems to have shifted from noise and vibrations, for instance, to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the combination of particulate matter and emissions of nitrogen oxides. Vroom has endeavoured to keep up with developments and to be at the forefront of the search for practical solutions.
Rather than focusing on merely one of these factors, Vroom’s vision covers all aspects. So when looking for the solution, we don’t restrict ourselves to technical measures, we go to the heart of the matter. We are specialists in foundations technology and use our expertise to help clients and come up with the best solutions. Opting for an alternative pile system can bring benefits on several fronts. Innovative new pile systems can also make a contribution to achieving lower emissions and increasing sustainability in our company.

Today and the near future

At this point in time, the majority of our plant and equipment is equipped with diesel engines that comply with Euro Stage IV as a minimum. Over the past few years we have made significant investments to replace older plant and equipment. We have recently started using a Woltman 55DR with a Tier 4 Final (Euro Stage IV) Caterpillar engine. We have a Woltman 35DR, with a Euro Stage V Caterpillar engine, and a Junttan PMx22, with a Euro Stage V engine on order. In addition, since the end of 2019 we have commissioned ten Vigor V-250HPU power packs (Euro Stage V-compliant), which are used when making vibrated-pile foundations. And there are also four Ljungby L18 Euro Stage V bulldozers on order, which we expect to take delivery of and start using in late 2021.

In addition to investing in new equipment, a significant proportion of our machinery has undergone engine remanufacturing. For instance two Woltman foundation rigs (1 THW7528D and 1 THW6527D), which have now have a new Caterpillar C18 and C13, Tier 4 Final engine respectively, a Hitachi KH300-3GLS that has been fitted with a VolvoPenta TAD882 Euro Stage V engine and a Hitachi CX700GLS, which has been fitted with a VolvoPenta TAD880 Euro Stage V engine. Other than that, we have a new Hillcon HSCX700GLS, which has been equipped with a VolvoPenta TAD882 Euro Stage V engine. Lastly, two heavy-duty drilling power packs have been remanufactured and now have 585kW VolvoPenta Euro Stage V engines, while later this year the first of our mini excavators will be equipped with a Stage V engine.

There have been some great steps forward in terms of reducing diesel engine emissions. In this way, the majority of our operational plant and equipment now has Euro Stage IV or Stage V engines. And all transportation equipment has engines with an environmental class of Euro 5 or higher. We are also running a pilot scheme with two electric-hydraulic stationary concrete mixers that can be used on various projects. In this way we can gain practical experience, and expect to be able to put this experience to good use soon, in a wide range of projects. In the near future we will even be having a mixer converted to battery power.

Zero-emission

Ultimately, our focus is on using electric construction materials. In addition to the stationary mixers referred to above, all our grout pumps have been fully electrically-powered since 2010. And that also applies, for example, to the majority of our on-site fork-lift trucks.

Years ago we already had complete faith that there will be one day that an electrically-powered piling rig will appear in the field. The biggest challenge we faced in this respect is the power supply on site, together with the change in the way of thinking about these issues on the part of both clients and our workforce. A piling rig requires large amounts of power to generate its output, and this is on a scale that is not readily available in all places. This means that our work preparation needs to be very precise, but in many cases the infrastructure in Europe is not yet capable of meeting this requirement.

We have been in far-reaching talks with several parties for quite some time on the issue of converting our plant and equipment to electricity. It was undoubtedly just a question of time before Vroom could start using its first battery-operated piling rig. We were engaged with our partners in studies and developments on generating the amounts of energy required for construction work.

And now the time has come: the first battery-electric piling rig at Vroom has made its appearance and will be active from June 2023. The second is coming and will go into production at the beginning of 2024.
Read all about the new, fully electrically driven foundation rig Hillcon HSCX1500GLS-E here.

Revision of Hitachi CX1100GLS

We aim for the most technical, sustainable, and economical solutions. This includes the maintenance of our equipment. In recent years, significant investments have been made in our machinery. These machines are known for their robustness and long lifespan. The Hitachi CX1100GLS was scheduled for remotorization to Stage V. When it became apparent that this foundation machine also needed major repairs, the decision for a revision was quickly made. The revision was a comprehensive project, undertaken by Vroom, choosing to have it executed by Van den Heuvel in Werkendam. The entire revision took just over a year, during which the whole machine was disassembled and each part checked, evaluated, and replaced as necessary. A revision is very sustainable, as it allows for the reuse of the machine, ensuring it can be deployed problem-free for many more years. After the revision, the machine was equipped with the latest technology and also meets the most recent emission requirements.

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