The world’s largest vibratory hammer recently drove the world’s largest pile in seven and one-half minutes. American Piledriving Equipment Inc., with cooperation with First Harbor Engineering Communications Bureau, drove the first pile for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. The first pile was 72 feet in diameter, 131 feet tall, and weighed 500 tons. It was driven by a series of eight Super Kong vibratory hammers, all running in synchronicity. Each hammer puts out 20,000-inch-pounds of force. The first pile took about three hours to place into the exact correct position. The difficultly level of the placement was due to the fact that not only did the pile need to be in the precise GPS location, it also needed to be faced in the correct degree to line up the interlocks on each side of the pile.
More than 40 top engineers participated in the coordinating of the driving procedure, with a total of 60 people directly involved in making sure the first pile drove successfully. In addition, most of the top engineers for the bridge project, safety administration, environmental protection agencies, government officials, and top level engineers from the China Construction Communications Bureau came to watch the first pile go into the ground. More than eight boats and three ships were in the vicinity to witness the historic operation, allowing some 200-plus people to see the first pile be driven. The drive was celebrated with a massive fireworks display.