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The Different Types of Pile Driving Equipment

There are many types of sheet pile driving equipment, and there are many sheet pile driving methods. In fact, we have previously looked into what types of pile driving equipment would be best for your project. Here, we will explore the pile driving equipment itself. So, to find out more about air, vibratory and hydraulic piling hammers, and the range of piles and elements they are used with, read on.

Air Pile Hammers

The term ‘air pile hammer’ can refer to many types of pile driving equipment, with a common similarity they all use compressed air to drive piles into the ground. These sheet pile hammers are well-suited to driving light pile sections, and for trench sheeting. Alongside plastic piling and timber piles and posts, they can also be used to drive multiple other items depending on their configuration and design.

The performance of air pile driving hammers has made them a popular choice of equipment. The Rothen Group (TRG) offers a variety of pile driving equipment for different surfaces and applications, such as the ones listed below.


The ARG pile driving hammer is favoured by waterway contractors, and for restoring canals and rivers, due to their ease-of-use, robustness and versatility. They can be used for H-section columns, barrier posts, jetty and mooring scaffolding, fencing posts and steel tubes.

BSP 200

A lightweight sheet pile hammer that provides an 80kg weight saving, the BSP 200 boasts driving power equalling that of an ARG No. 2.

BSP 300

The BSP 300 sheet pile driving machine is best-suited to sites with hard ground, and more specifically, to driving in L8 and M7 piles in these soil conditions.

BSP No. 5

BSP No. 5 hammers allow for efficient pile installation by delivering a high-speed series of impact blows. Due to its periodic clamp gripping the sheet after each strike, this type of sheet pile hammer can be used effectively without damaging sheeting materials around it. It is effective as a pile driving hammer for medium-weight sheet steel, tubular, timber piles and H-Beams. The sheet pile driver can also be used with light concrete piles in soft soil and driving Larrsen piles, further highlighting its versatility.

Atlas Copco 400

The largest pile hammer to use a 125cfm compressor, this piece of sheet pile driving equipment is also among the quietest in TRG’s range. This is due to the Atlas Copco’s impact being largely centred internally, and its wider leg guide option means it can be used for H-Sections, as well as posts and tubes.

McKiernan-Terry Hammer

This type of sheet pile driver is suitable for driving light-to-medium sheet piles. When it comes to driving power, the McKieran-Terry Hammer sits between the Atlas Copco and BSP No. 5.

Air Pile Hammers for canals

Hydraulic Pile Hammers

Hydraulic pile hammers differ from air pile hammers in that they do not need a compressor to run. Instead, this equipment is powered by a hydraulic system, either within the machine or via a standalone hydraulic power pack.

Hydraulic sheet pile drivers stand out among pile driving equipment as they offer less vibration and are highly versatile. They are compatible with multiple inserts depending on what items need to be driven in, including piles, posts and rolled steel joists. Hydraulic impact hammers also require no gas and use a biodegradable hydraulic oil, while remaining highly efficient, easy to maintain and use, as well as enjoying a low operating cost.

TRG Equipment Available

TRG offers two types of hydraulic piling hammer, the TR1 and TR2. Both are free-hanging pile hammers that come in three sizes to fit cranes and excavators from 2.5 tonnes upwards. The TR1 is best-suited to driving L8 sheets up to a length of 2.4 metres, with the TR2 used for the same application, but on harder ground. Each sheet pile driving machine’s hammer stroke and frequency can be adjusted, making them both flexible to specific application requirements and highly efficient.

Hydraulic Pile Hammers for canals

Vibratory Pile Hammer

A vibratory pile hammer, otherwise known as a vibro hammer, uses vibration to loosen soil, making it easier to drive items into the surface, or remove them. These vibratory pile drivers can be simply and quickly attached to an excavator or hung off a crane, and are designed so vibration is kept to extremely low levels. They also consist of no electrics and are robust, reliable and compact. With a slim design to drive single sheet piles and minimal height, the pile length is maximised.

Additionally, vibro hammers for sheet pile driving have an excellent power-to-weight ratio and are flexible over multiple applications. Thanks to the automatic operation of the hydraulic clamp, they can be used without damaging sheeting materials. Furthermore, its flow regulator prevents excessive oil supply to the vibrator.

TRG stock multiple vibratory pile hammers for use in varying circumstances. These Dawson Construction Excavator Mounted Vibrators (EMVs) are used for pile driving and extraction, replacing an excavator bucket. Because they work around a standard excavator, vibro hammers of this kind are considered highly productive and cost-effective, and the different kinds are listed below.


A vibratory pile hammer suited to driving tubes, wooden posts, steel and plastic piles. The EM70 is compatible with 5-12-tonne excavators.


A mid-range vibratory pile driver, the EMV220 is 5kg heavier than the EMV70 and is often recommended in applications limited by the size of the excavator, and for piles that are heavier than trench sheets.


The largest vibratory hammer in TRG’s offering, the EMV300 is powered by 13-25-tonne excavators, and are ideal for use with mid-heavy-duty piles, such as those from Larsen.

Vibratory Pile Hammer for canals

For more information on air pile hammers, view our air pile hammers PDF. To find out more about hydraulic pile hammers, view our hydraulic pile hammers PDF, and for vibratory pile drivers, download our vibratory pile drivers PDF.

If you are interested about learning more about the history of canals in the UK, to see how this marine engineering technology has developed, more insight is in our blog.

If you would like further information on The Rothen Group’s piling hammer and plant hire services, contact us, or call 01827 215715.

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