Rockwheel D20 Trenching in West Virginia Sandstone and Blue Rock...a Microcosm on the Paradigm Shift in Rock Excavation

Posted by Ryan Leech at  RockZone Blog
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As winter draws to a close, the Mid-Atlantic region is abuzz with the sounds of construction as excavation contractors and engineers gear up for the busy season ahead. And as the demand for rock removal increases, so does the popularity of Alpine Rockwheel's groundbreaking alternative to hydraulic hammers: the Rockwheel.

Excavator-mounted rock grinding attachments have become a game-changer in the world of excavation, providing an economical and efficient way to remove rock in a wide range of strengths - from soft ground that can be excavated with buckets, to rock as hard as 15,000 psi. And while heavy hammers or drill-and-blast methods have traditionally been the go-to solutions for hard rock, Rockwheels have reached a tipping point where they are now recognized as the most effective tool in the mid-range.

So, what sets the Rockwheel apart? For one, its continuous grinding action reduces the need for repositioning the tool compared to hammers, resulting in higher production rates - up to three to five times more in suitable rock, particularly in layered rock! And thanks to its precision cutting, the Rockwheel eliminates overbreak and ensures that only the necessary amount of rock is excavated, which not only saves time but also money.

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But don't just take our word for it - the results speak for themselves. Take, for example, a recent rock trenching job in West Virginia. The contractor had to trench through 3 feet of sandstone underlain by 3.5 feet of blue limestone, all while avoiding damage to an existing utility line. Knowing the limitations of hydraulic hammers, the contractor decided to use a D20 Rockwheel hydraulic rotary rock grinding attachment. Installed on a 20-ton excavator, the Rockwheel proved to be a game-changer, exceeding expectations in terms of productivity and finished product. Check out the photo below to see the rock layers, smooth side walls, and the undisturbed utility line - all thanks to the power of the Rockwheel.

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