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31 december 2021 News articles

Brokk brings efficiency to driving piles in confined spaces

Brokk robots are designed and optimized for demolition, but did you know that a Brokk robot is also an efficient solution for pile foundation reinforcements? Brokk’s compact and flexible demolition robots can easily access confined spaces without compromising on power, they can also carry a variety of attachments and do not emit exhaust fumes.

When reinforcing foundations of old buildings or buildings with poor soil conditions, piling is a traditional procedure.

Prior to a major renovation and new construction of a hotel, the foundation of the historic building Draken on Järntorget in Gothenburg needed to be reinforced. The property was built in the early 1950s and the foundation was piled with timber, which over time has begun to rot, causing the foundation to be compromised.

Many cities are built on timber piles and they work well until they are exposed to oxygen, and they start to rot. Soil conditions have a major impact, but densification of cities may have an affect as well. New buildings, road construction and new landscaping near house facades disturbs the soil conditions which in turn impacts the timber piles and the foundations which will require reinforcement.

The obvious choice
When we met supervisor Richard Hammar at Grundia AB, the project had lasted about 7 months and was in its final stages. Early in the planning process, several challenges emerged, which resulted in a demolition robot being the only alternative for the job.

– Some areas in the building are confined and sometimes difficult to access, the size, power, and flexibility of the Brokk made it an obvious choice, says Richard.

Since the work was to be carried out in a basement, the requirements were specific. The robot needed to get through narrow passages (less than 800mm) as well as travel up and down stairs. The Brokk 200 was the most suitable model for the job, as it delivers maximum power in relation to its size, which was crucial as the task required a large hydraulic breaker in a limited space. Yet another benefit with Brokk’s demolition robots is that they are remote controlled, which gives the operator the opportunity to maneuver the robot from a safe distance and allowing the best possible view of the work.

Since the project was carried out entirely indoors, an electric powered machine was essential.  The exhaust fumes from a diesel-powered machine would have made the work environment unbearable.


A flexible solution
A Brokk robot is incredibly versatile thanks to the ability to use different attachments. When piling, the choice of hydraulic breaker may differ depending on the soil conditions and the state of the building, in this particular case a breaker with a large diameter piston was needed. When using a heavy breaker, the robot needs a counterweight for good stability.

With these types of jobs, where there is limited space and limited ceiling height, a side mounted breaker made it possible to maintain a high working pace. In addition, this type of breaker made it possible to maximize the length of each pile.

About the project
In total, Grundia AB laid 303 piles on the building’s 1500 square meters. The average depth was about 41 meters but varied between 17 and 70 meters. Due to changing ground conditions, some piles could be driven quickly, and others took several hours. For the deepest piles, the first 40 meters took about 2 hours, while the remaining 20 meters took almost 4 hours. In this project, Brokk 200 was used for a total of 1500 hours.



Gothenburg, Sweden
Machine model:
Brokk 200 + hydraulic breaker
Material used:
Steel piles
Total piling depth:
17-70 meter
Pile dimension:
115 millimeters





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// Brokkteamet