Helical Piles

Ideal Group manufactures a wide range of round shaft helical pipe piles and anchors and round corner square shaft (RCS) helical screw piles and anchors.  All products can be bare or galvanized steel. With helical pipe pile shaft diameters up to 24”, we are the leaders in the high capacity helical pipe pile industry.

Our highly efficient production processes and principles combined with our commitment to consistent quality allow us to provide superior products with some of the shortest lead times in the industry.  The IDEAL team is often called on to fabricate custom piles and brackets to exact client specifications or designs. This is another area where our design and production teams have become highly recognized for their innovation and skill.  Our unique approach to design and production allows us to provide you numerous benefits whether you’re an installer, contractor, or engineer.

All of our standard Helical Piles, Helical Anchors, and associated Brackets and Hardware are ICC-ES Certified under ESR-3750 – IDEAL Manufacturing, Inc.  This includes 1.50” RCS (solid square shaft), 2.875” x .203” W.T., 2.875” x .276” W.T., 3.500” x .216” W.T., 3.500” x .300” W.T.

ADVANTAGES OF HELICAL PILES

For many applications, helical units may offer significant advantages over other systems. Some of these include:

  • A wide range of allowable loads up to 500 tons.
  • Adaptability to a variety of installation angles
  • Lower cost than driven or drilled piles – do not go as deep to reach the same capacity
  • Ease and speed of installation
  • Minimal support equipment
  • Suitability for low-headroom and other limited-access areas
  • Easy pile cutoffs
  • No concrete-related delays
  • Little or no dependence on weather
  • Little or no earthwork and spoil material (a particular advantage at contaminated sites)
  • Minimal vibration and noise
  • Easily removed and reused in temporary applications
  • Very low mobilization and demobilization costs

Check out PROJECT CASE STUDIES and PROJECT INSTALL VIDEOS on our blog.

APPLICATIONS FOR HELICAL PILES

A helical pier is a deep foundation. Its purpose is to transfer a structural load to deeper, stronger, and less compressible materials bypassing any weaker and more compressible materials that would be unsuitable for the support of a conventional shallow foundation.

As a deep foundation, a helical pier should be considered for most applications that would call for a driven pile, drilled pier, or mini pile.

Helical piles and anchors are usually a great foundation solution to any of the applications below whether it’s a new build or existing structure.

INSTALLATION OF HELICAL PILES

A helical screw pile is rotated into the ground by using a hydraulic drive head, powered by an excavator. IDEAL requires installers to monitor installation torque and pile alignment during the installation process. This is required for a few reasons.

It is important to have a qualitative assessment of the soils being penetrated at various depths. Using a graph, the recorded installation torque and depth is interpreted against the existing soil data to obtain a correlation that enables a simple verification strategy to be determined.

The soil data is interpreted against the installation torque and a correlation is obtained to maintain the integrity of the helical screw pile during installation as well as mitigate damage by exceeding the allowed torsional strength to any of the pile’s components. Every helical screw pile has a maximum stress level that must not be exceeded in order to avoid compromising the structural integrity of the helical screw pile unit. Check out PROJECT CASE STUDIES and PROJECT INSTALL VIDEOS on our blog.

HISTORY OF HELICAL PILES

earlylighthouseThe first helical screw pile was invented in the 1830’s by a blind Irish marine construction engineer named Alexander Mitchell. His design proved to be a major improvement over traditional straight pile designs so Mitchell and his son promptly patented the cast iron screw pile. In 1840 the first screw piles were installed to support the Maplin Sands lighthouse at the mouth of the Thames River. This innovative design caught on and made its way across the pond quickly and before long most of the lighthouses in the mid-Atlantic region were being built on helical pile foundations. There were more lighthouses built on helical pile foundations in the Chesapeake Bay than anywhere else in the world. A total of Forty-two helical screw pile lighthouses were built on the Chesapeake Bay between 1850 and 1900.

The helical screw pile technology didn’t stay on the east coast. Over the next few years, helical screw pile lighthouses could also be found in the Great Lakes Region and the Gulf of Mexico.

The foundation of a typical screw pile lighthouse consisted of one central pile installed in the center and then flanked by another six or eight piles around the perimeter. This design increased the anchoring properties and the bearing power of the helical screw piles. These early helical screw piles were often installed by using large torque bars and the power of men, horses, or oxen.

Alexander Mitchell’s helical screw pile design is just as effective today as it was in the late 18th century and continues to be installed around the world.