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Equipment Focus: The Impact Mole and Trenchless Technology

Unearthing The Benefits of Impact Moles

Posted 31 May 2024 by The SEL Team

Trenchless technology has revolutionised the way underground infrastructure projects are carried out in the construction and civil engineering industries. Traditionally, underground works such as pipe laying, water and sewer works required extensive excavations, but trenchless technology, particularly the use of impact moles, proved a gamechanger – shaping the way this type of work is done in modern construction with the added benefit of minimal excavation.

Why is trenchless technology a gamechanger?

Trenchless technology is an innovative method in construction that negates the need for an open-cut excavation when it comes to jobs like underground pipe laying or placing an electrical conduit in the ground between two defined points underneath roads, buildings and other structures without much disruption to people and surrounding environment.

Unlike excavations, trenchless methods minimise impact on the environment as disturbance to soil, organisms in the ground and water bodies are greatly reduced. Other benefits of trenchless technology include time and cost savings when it comes to surveys and design calculations and with fewer unknowns underground, installation time is often reduced.

Impact moles can be used underneath roads, railways, buildings, and other structures to lay pipes and cabling with minimal disruption or damage

There are a number of trenchless methods regularly being deployed to boost efficiency in modern construction, but impact moling stands out as particularly efficient. The advancements in trenchless technology, such as those seen in horizontal directional drilling, have broadened the applications for impact moling, benefiting from improved steering technology that was initially developed for HDD drilling rigs.

In this article, we dig into why the impact mole is so useful.

What is an impact mole?

Also described as a soil displacement hammer, the impact mole operates by using compressed air to force a piston-driven chisel through the soil. This action, facilitated by the drill head, creates a bore hole or pathway without the need for extensive excavation. The drill head’s slanted face is crucial for steering and soil displacement, allowing for precise direction control of the bore.

Impact moles are particularly useful in urban areas where space is limited or where traditional open-cut methods would be disruptive or costly. They can, for example, be used underneath roads, railways, buildings, and other structures to lay pipes and cabling with minimal disruption or damage, utilising the bore hole created by the mole for the installation of pipelines and ducts.

How is the impact mole used?

The equipment is inserted into the ground at one end of the pathway and the impact mole will displace the soil to create a tunnel towards the exit point, allowing for the precise installation of utilities by guiding the mole in a desired direction. At Site Equipment Ltd, this is referred to as the ‘A to B system’.

Impact moles can also be used for cable moling to lay electric cables, fibre optic cabling, phone cables, and importantly, gas lines and gas pipes. An impact mole is sometimes referred to as a cable mole when used for this application, but its versatility extends to the installation of gas utilities, emphasizing its role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of underground utility installations.

Impact Moles at Site Equipment Ltd

At Site Equipment Ltd (SEL), impact moles are the most cost-effective solution out of all the trenchless methods. Impact moles are available from 45mm up to the new 180mm and it is easy to use with the A to B system where only two small pits are required – one at the entry and one at the exit point.

With forward and reverse gears available, the design prevents any real damage and disruption to the surrounding area. We also have a wide range of towing heads available that are also compatible for bull nose reverse towing.

When choosing your impact mole, always allow an extra 30%.

To ensure there is no friction or drag when pulling through the new cable, it is important that the impact mole is larger than the product to counteract any hole shrinkage which may occur. For example, 45mm lays pipes up to 32mm but if you are in doubt, contact the team at Site Equipment Ltd.

What about accessories?

Site Equipment Ltd (SEL) stocks a wide range of impact mole accessories and supply the following as standard with every order:

  • Safety Launchers with Pins
  • Lubricators
  • Air Hoses
  • Ranging Rod
  • Additionally, mole oil & antifreeze mole oil can be supplied as an optional extra if required.

A word about equipment safety

All the equipment at Site Equipment Ltd, including our impact moling equipment, is regularly checked and meets the relevant health and safety standards, complete with test certificates where applicable. Our impact moling equipment undergoes rigorous safety checks and adheres to the highest standards to ensure operational safety, reflecting our commitment to providing reliable and safe solutions for our clients.

How to hire our Impact Moles?

If you are interested in an impact mole or any of our other trenchless technology for your next construction project, our experienced moling contractors can help. Contact Site Equipment Ltd today on 0117 982 8236 or find your nearest depot.

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