Using jackhammers to strip heads of foundation piles is a time-consuming process that can take an hour or more for each pile. Now there is an alternative to the jackhammer that's quicker, easier, and more economical: a hydraulic pile cutting machine that can strip a pile head and carry away the cutting debris to a dump truck in just 3 to 5 minutes. The pile cutter is suspended from an excavator or crane that moves the cutter from pile to pile. The cutter receives its power through hydraulic connections to the excavator or crane or from an auxiliary hydraulic power unit. Only two workers are needed to operate the pile cutter: the excavator operator, who controls the machine from the cab, and a person on the ground to oversee the cutting operation.
Because the machine cuts piles much faster than a jackhammer crew, the manufacturer claims it can reduce pile cutting costs by 70 percent or more. Based on an output of 100 piles per day, labor and equipment costs are estimated to be as little as 10 dollars per pile cut. Cutting piles with a jackhammer and removing the cutting debris with a skid-steer loader reportedly costs about 40 dollars to 60 dollars per pile. The machine also offers the advantage of needing little maintenance.