Title:
Marine pile driving and boring apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A marine pile driving and boring apparatus is disclosed. An illustrative embodiment of the apparatus includes a barge having an elongated hammer slot, a boom track carried by the barge generally adjacent to said hammer slot, a boom platform carried by the boom track, a boom tower carried by the boom platform and a hammer assembly having a hammer carried by the boom tower.



Inventors:
Cannon, James R. (Minden, LA, US)
Application Number:
12/070470
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
02/19/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D7/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRECK, JANINE MUIR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
R. Keith Harrison (Shreveport, LA, US)
Claims:
Having described my disclosure with the particularity set forth above, I claim:

1. An apparatus comprising: a barge having an elongated hammer slot; a boom track carried by said barge generally adjacent to said hammer slot; a boom platform carried by said boom track; a boom tower carried by said boom platform; and a hammer assembly having a hammer carried by said boom tower.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of barge support assemblies carried by said barge.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein each of said plurality of barge support assemblies comprises a support assembly housing pivotally carried by said barge, a barge support member slidably carried by said support assembly housing, a support extension cylinder carried by said support assembly housing and a support extension piston extendable from said support extension cylinder and engaging said barge support member.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a boom assembly positioning cylinder carried by said barge and a boom assembly positioning piston extendable from said boom assembly positioning cylinder and engaging said boom tower.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a hammer lift cylinder carried by said boom platform and a hammer lift piston extendable from said hammer lift cylinder, and wherein said hammer assembly is carried by said hammer lift piston.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said hammer assembly comprises a coupling arm carried by said hammer lift piston and a hammer track carried by said coupling arm, and wherein said hammer is carried by said hammer track.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said barge comprises a top panel, a bottom panel spaced-apart from said top panel and a pair of side panels and a pair of end panels extending between said top panel and said bottom panel.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said boom track comprises a pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart boom track rails carried by said barge and wherein said boom platform is carried by said boom track rails.

9. An apparatus comprising: a barge having a generally elongated hammer slot; a generally elongated boom track carried by said barge generally parallel and adjacent to said hammer slot; a boom platform carried by said boom track; a boom tower having a plurality of generally elongated corner members carried by said boom platform, a plurality of stabilizing members spanning said corner members and a hammer assembly adjustment space defined between adjacent ones of said corner members; and a hammer assembly having a hammer carried by said boom tower at said hammer assembly adjustment space of said boom tower.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a plurality of barge support assemblies carried by said barge.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein each of said plurality of barge support assemblies comprises a support assembly housing pivotally carried by said barge, a barge support member slidably carried by said support assembly housing, a support extension cylinder carried by said support assembly housing and a support extension piston extendable from said support extension cylinder and engaging said barge support member.

12. The apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a boom assembly positioning cylinder carried by said barge and a boom assembly positioning piston extendable from said boom assembly positioning cylinder and engaging said boom tower.

13. The apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a hammer lift cylinder carried by said boom platform and a hammer lift piston extendable from said hammer lift cylinder and wherein said hammer assembly is carried by said hammer lift piston.

14. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein said hammer assembly comprises a coupling arm carried by said hammer lift piston and a hammer track carried by said coupling arm, and wherein said hammer is carried by said hammer track.

15. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said barge comprises a top panel, a bottom panel spaced-apart from said top panel and a pair of side panels and a pair of end panels extending between said top panel and said bottom panel.

16. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said boom track comprises a pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart boom track rails carried by said barge and wherein said boom platform is carried by said boom track rails.

17. An apparatus comprising: a barge having a generally elongated hammer slot; a generally elongated boom track carried by said barge generally parallel and adjacent to said hammer slot; a boom platform carried by said boom track; a boom tower carried by said boom platform; a hammer lift cylinder carried by said boom platform inside said boom tower; a hammer lift piston extendable from said hammer lift cylinder; a hammer assembly having a coupling arm carried by said hammer lift piston, a hammer track carried by said coupling arm and a hammer slidably carried by said hammer track; and a hammer actuation assembly carried by said hammer track and engaging said hammer.

18. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein said hammer actuation assembly comprises a plurality of expansion springs extending between said hammer and said hammer track and a hammer actuation cylinder carried by a first one of said hammer track and said hammer and a hammer actuation piston extendable from said hammer actuation cylinder and engaging a second one of said hammer track and said hammer.

19. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein said hammer comprises a pair of generally elongated, spaced-apart side hammer plates; a connecting hammer plate extending between said side hammer plates; and a plurality of hammer rollers carried by each of said side hammer plates and engaging said hammer track.

20. The apparatus of claim 17 further comprising a plurality of flotation compartments provided in said barge.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of and incorporates by reference in its entirety U.S. Provisional application No. 60/902,392, filed Feb. 21, 2007 and entitled “Marine Pile Driving and Boring Apparatus”.

FIELD

The present disclosure relates to pile driving apparatuses. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a marine pile driving and boring apparatus which can be used to drive pilings and/or bore openings into a bed of a water body.

BACKGROUND

In the construction industry, it is often necessary to drive pilings into the bed of a river, lake or other water body. This may require the use of a barge-mounted pile driving apparatus to float on the surface of the water body and facilitate driving of the pilings into the bed of the water body. However, conventional barges which support a pile driving apparatus on a water body are typically difficult to maneuver and therefore, require extensive time and labor to repeatedly drive multiple pilings into the water body bed.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure is generally directed to a marine pile driving and boring apparatus. An illustrative embodiment of the apparatus includes a barge having an elongated hammer slot, a boom track carried by the barge generally adjacent to the hammer slot, a boom platform carried by the boom track, a boom tower carried by the boom platform and a hammer assembly having a hammer carried by the boom tower.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The disclosure will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a top view of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating alternative positions of a boom platform and tower on a barge element of the apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view of a barge element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating multiple flotation compartments provided in the barge;

FIG. 3A is a transverse sectional view of the barge element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a side view of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, with multiple barge support assemblies of the apparatus illustrated in an extended, barge-supporting position;

FIG. 5 is a side view of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, with the multiple barge support assemblies illustrated in a folded, barge transport position;

FIG. 5A is an enlarged sectional view, taken along section line 5A in FIG. 4 of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating an illustrative technique for supporting a pair of boom track rails (one of which is shown) on an end of the barge element of the apparatus;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a support assembly housing of a barge support assembly element of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus;

FIG. 6A is a side view, partially in section, of the support assembly housing, more particularly illustrating an exemplary technique for pivotally mounting the support assembly housing on the barge element of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, with the support assembly housing illustrated in the extended, barge-supporting position;

FIG. 6B is a side view, partially in section, of the support assembly housing, deployed in the folded, barge transport position;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view, partially in section, of boom platform and boom tower elements of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the boom platform element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, mounted on a pair of boom track rails (shown in phantom) of the boom track;

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of a piston attachment bracket, provided on the boom tower element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a hammer element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus;

FIG. 11 is a side view of the hammer element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, mounted for displacement on a hammer track;

FIG. 11A is a side view of the hammer element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, illustrating displacement of the hammer on the hammer track relative to the position of the hammer on the hammer track as illustrated in FIG. 11;

FIG. 12 is a sectional view, taken along section lines 12-12 in FIG. 11, of the hammer element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating a hammer actuation assembly provided in the hammer and disposed in a compressed configuration;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view, taken along section lines 12-12 in FIG. 11, of the hammer, with the hammer actuation assembly disposed in an extended configuration;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a hammer track mounted on the boom tower element (partially in section) of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, with the hammer (partially in section) mounted for displacement on the hammer track;

FIG. 14A is a side view of a hammer assembly element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating a typical manner of attaching a hammer track element to a coupling arm element of the hammer assembly;

FIG. 15 is a side view, partially in section, of a boom assembly element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating an auger provided on the hammer element of the boom assembly and illustrated in a raised position;

FIG. 16 is a side view, partially in section, of the boom assembly element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, with the auger disposed in a lowered position and boring a piling opening into a bed of a water body;

FIG. 17 is a side view, partially in section, of the boom assembly element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating a piling partially driven into a bed of a water body with the hammer element of the boom assembly illustrated in a raised, pre-impact position above the piling;

FIG. 18 is a side view, partially in section, of the boom assembly element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating a piling partially driven into a bed of a water body with the hammer element of the boom assembly impacting the piling;

FIG. 19 is a sectional view, taken along section lines 19-19 in FIG. 15, of the boom tower element of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating an exemplary technique for coupling the hammer track element to a hammer lift piston element of the boom tower;

FIG. 20 is a top view of a hydraulic control module element of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus;

FIG. 21 is a top view of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating a first position of the apparatus in the driving of multiple pilings into a bed of a water body; and

FIG. 22 is a top view of an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, more particularly illustrating a second position of the apparatus in the driving of multiple pilings into the bed of the water body.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring initially to FIGS. 1-5 of the drawings, an illustrative embodiment of the marine pile driving and boring apparatus, hereinafter apparatus, is generally indicated by reference numeral 1. The apparatus 1 includes a barge 2 which typically has a generally elongated, rectangular shape. As illustrated in FIG. 3A, the barge 2 includes a top panel 3 and a bottom panel 4 which are generally spaced-apart and parallel with respect to each other. A pair of generally parallel, spaced-apart side panels 5 extends between the top panel 3 and the bottom panel 4. As illustrated in FIG. 3, a rear end panel 6 and a front end panel 7 are provided on opposite ends of the top panel 3, bottom panel 4 and side panels 5. Multiple lift notches 8 may be provided in each side panel 5 to facilitate lifting of the barge 2 as deemed necessary.

As further illustrated in FIG. 3, the barge 2 has a barge interior 12. In some embodiments of the apparatus 1, multiple intersecting compartment dividers 13 extend between the top panel 3, bottom panel 4, side panels 5, rear end panel 6 and front end panel 7. The compartment dividers 13 divide the barge interior 12 into multiple, discrete flotation compartments 14. A generally elongated hammer slot 10, the purpose of which will be hereinafter described, extends into the front end panel 7 and through the top panel 3 and bottom panel 4 of the barge 2.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5, at least one outboard motor 18 is provided on the rear end of the barge 2. In some embodiments, a pair of spaced-apart outboard motors 18 is provided on the rear end of the barge 2. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, each outboard motor 18 drivingly engages a propeller 19 which is normally immersed in a water body 172 (FIGS. 21 and 22) to propel the barge 2 on the water body 172. A barge positioning control module 164 is provided on the barge 2 and connected to each outboard motor 18 to facilitate operation and steering of each outboard motor 18. The barge positioning control module 164 typically includes a frame 165. A seat 166 (FIGS. 1 and 2) is typically provided on the frame 165. A control panel 167 is provided on the frame 165, in spaced-apart relationship with the seat 166. A steering wheel 168 and a throttle (not illustrated) are typically provided on the control panel 167 and connected to each outboard motor 18 to facilitate steering and operation, respectively, of the barge 2 on the water body 172.

Referring next to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4-6B of the drawings, multiple barge Support assemblies 24 are provided on the barge 2, such as at or adjacent to respective corners 2a of the barge 2, for example, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. As illustrated in FIGS. 4-6B, each barge support assembly 24 includes an elongated support assembly housing 25. Multiple reinforcing gussets 30, which may have various sizes, typically extend from the support assembly housing 25 in spaced-apart relationship with respect to each other. A pair of spaced-apart cylinder mount flanges 32, each having a flange opening 32a (FIG. 6), may extend from the support assembly housing 25 for purposes which will be hereinafter described.

Each barge support assembly 24 is pivotally attached to the barge 2 in such a manner that the barge support assembly 24 is positional between an extended, barge supporting position illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 6A and a folded, barge transporting position illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6B. The support assembly housing 25 of each barge support assembly 24 can be pivotally attached to the barge 2 according to any suitable technique which is known by those skilled in the art. As illustrated in FIG. 6, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, a pair of generally parallel, spaced-apart mount pin flanges 26 extends from the support assembly housing 25. A generally elongated cylindrical mount pin 27 is provided on the extending or distal ends of the mount pin flanges 26. A lock flange 28, having a lock flange opening 28a, is typically provided on the mount pin flanges 26 for purposes which will be hereinafter described. As illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B, a pair of generally parallel, spaced-apart housing mount flanges 29 (one of which is illustrated), each having a pin opening 29a, extends from the top panel 3 of the barge 2. The mount pin 27 on the support assembly housing 25 extends through the pin openings 29a of the respective housing mount flanges 29 to pivotally attach the support assembly housing 25 to the barge 2.

A pair of spaced-apart housing retainer flanges 34 (one of which is illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B) extends from an end panel of the barge 2. A housing retainer pin 35 can be selectively extended through registering retainer pin openings (not illustrated) provided in the respective housing retainer flanges 34 to retain the support assembly housing 25 in the extended, barge supporting position illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 6A. A lock pin (not illustrated) can additionally be extended through a lock pin opening (not illustrated) provided in each housing mount flange 29 (FIG. 6A) and through the registering lock flange opening 28a provided in the lock flange 28 to additionally lock or secure the support assembly housing 25 in the extended, barge supporting position. Additionally or alternatively, the lock pin (not illustrated) can be extended through a lock pin opening (not illustrated) provided in each housing mount flange 29 and through the registering lock flange opening (not illustrated) provided in the lock flange 28 to lock or secure the support assembly housing 25 in the folded, barge transport position illustrated in FIG. 6B.

As further illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5, an elongated barge support member 36, which may be square tubing, for example, is slidably mounted in each support assembly housing 25. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, a support loot 37 typically terminates a bottom end of each barge support member 36. Each support foot 37 typically includes a foot plate 38 which is welded and/or otherwise attached to the barge support member 36. Multiple foot plate gussets 39 may extend from the foot plate 38 in a selected pattern for reinforcement purposes.

Each barge support member 36 is adjustable in the corresponding support assembly housing 25 using any suitable technique which is known by those skilled in the art. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1 a support extension cylinder 42 is provided on the support assembly housing 25, such as by attachment to the cylinder mount flanges 32 on the support assembly housing 25, for example. The support extension cylinder 42 is connected to a hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 through a hydraulic control module 157 (FIGS. 1 and 2) which will be hereinafter described. A support extension piston 43 is extendable from the support extension cylinder 42. A piston collar 44 is provided on the barge support member 36, and the support extension piston 43 is attached to the piston collar 44. Accordingly, by extension of the support extension piston 43 from the support extension cylinder 42 when the support assembly housing 25 is disposed in the extended position illustrated in FIG. 4, the barge support member 36 is raised in the support assembly housing 25. Conversely, by retraction of the support extension piston 43 into the support extension cylinder 42, the barge support member 36 is lowered in the support assembly housing 25. As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5, a pair of assembly support stands 46 (one of which is illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5) may be provided on the barge 2 to support the support assembly housing 25 of each barge support assembly 24 when each barge support assembly 24 is disposed in the folded, barge transport configuration illustrated in FIG. 5.

Referring next to FIGS. 1, 2, 4-5A and 7-9 of the drawings, a boom assembly 50 is provided on the barge 2. The boom assembly 50 includes a boom track 51 which is disposed in generally adjacent, parallel relationship with respect to the hammer slot 10 provided in the barge 2, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The boom track 51 includes a pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart boom track rails 52. In some embodiments of the apparatus 1, each of the boom track rails 52 is disposed in generally parallel relationship with respect to the longitudinal axis of the barge 2.

In some embodiments of the apparatus 1, a rail extension 52a extends from each boom track rail 52, beyond the front end of the barge 2. As illustrated in FIG. 5A, a rail extension support 53 typically extends between the barge 2 and the rail extension 52a to reinforce or support the rail extension 52a. The rail extension support 53 is typically welded to a support plate 54 which is welded and/or attached to the rail extension 52a using multiple plate fasteners 55 secured by nuts 56. In some embodiments, a pair of support flanges 57 (one of which is illustrated in FIG. 5A) extends from the barge 2 and the rail extension support 53 is attached to the support flanges 57 using an attachment pin 58. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the rail extension support 53 may be attached to the barge 2 using welding, fasteners and/or any other suitable alternative attachment technique which is known by those skilled in the art.

The boom assembly 50 further includes a boom platform 60 which is mounted for selective positional displacement along the boom track rails 52 of the boom track 51 typically in a manner which will be hereinafter described. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the boom platform 60 typically includes a pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart platform beams 61 which slidably engage the respective boom track rails 52 of the boom track 51 according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art. In some embodiments of the apparatus 1, each of the boom track rails 52 is square tubing. Each platform beam 61 slidably receives a corresponding boom track rail 52 of the boom track 51. A platform panel 62 (FIGS. 1, 2 and 8), typically having a generally rectangular shape, is provided on the boom track rails 52.

An upward-standing boom tower 65 is provided on the platform panel 62 of the boom platform 60. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the boom tower 65 typically includes four elongated corner members 66 which extend upwardly from the platform panel 62 of the boom platform 60. On three sides of the boom tower 65, multiple stabilizing members 67 extend between adjacent corner members 66 in generally parallel, spaced-apart relationship with respect to each other along the height of the boom tower 65. On a fourth side of the boom tower 65, a hammer assembly adjustment space 70 is defined between adjacent corner members 66 throughout substantially the height of the boom tower 65.

The boom platform 60 and boom tower 65 of the boom assembly 50 are selectively positional along the boom track 51 using any suitable mechanism which is known by those skilled in the art. As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, a boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 is pivotally attached to the barge 2 such as between a pair of cylinder mount flanges 144 which extends upwardly from the top panel 3 of the barge 2, for example. The boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 is connected to the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 through the hydraulic control module 157. A boom assembly positioning piston 147 is selectively extendable from the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 responsive to operation of the hydraulic control module 157, as will be hereinafter further described. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, a cylinder support stand 148 may be provided on the barge 2 to support the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146.

The extending or distal end of the boom assembly positioning piston 147 is coupled to the boom tower 65 according to any suitable technique which is known by those skilled in the art. As illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 9, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, a piston attachment bracket 72 is provided on the boom tower 65 and the boom assembly positioning piston 147 is pivotally attached to the piston attachment bracket 72. The piston attachment bracket 72 typically includes a generally elongated, rectangular bracket plate 73 which is welded and/or otherwise attached to the boom tower 65. As illustrated in FIG. 9, in some embodiments, bracket attachment plates 80 are provided on respective adjacent corner members 66 of the boom tower 65. The bracket plate 73 of the piston attachment bracket 72 is typically welded and/or bolted to the bracket attachment plates 80. An elongated flange mount plate 74 extends from the bracket plate 73. Top reinforcing gussets 75 and bottom reinforcing gussets 79 typically extend between the bracket plate 73 and the flange mount plate 74. A pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart piston attachment flanges 76, each typically having a pin opening 77, extends from the bracket plate 73, beneath the flange mount plate 74. An elongated flange support plate 78 extends from the bracket plate 73, beneath the piston attachment flanges 76. The piston attachment flanges 76 are typically welded and/or otherwise attached to the bracket plate 73, flange mount plate 74 and flange support plate 78. The extending or distal end of the boom assembly positioning piston 147 is pivotally attached to the piston attachment bracket 72 by extending a pivot pin (not illustrated) through the pin openings 77 provided in the piston attachment flanges 76 of the piston attachment bracket 72 and through a registering pin opening (not illustrated) provided in the boom assembly positioning piston 147.

Referring next to FIGS. 10-19 of the drawings, a hammer assembly 82 (FIGS. 11-19) is provided on the boom tower 65 of the boom assembly 50. As illustrated in FIGS. 15-19, the hammer assembly 82 includes a hydraulic hammer lift cylinder 120 which is provided on the boom platform 60 and extends upwardly inside the boom tower 65. The hammer lift cylinder 120 can be attached to the boom platform 60 using any suitable technique which is known by those skilled in the art. In some embodiments of the apparatus 1, the hammer lift cylinder 120 is connected to a pair of spaced-apart cylinder mount flanges 68 (FIG. 8) provided on the platform panel 62 of the boom platform 60. The hammer lift cylinder 120 is connected to the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 (FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5) through the hydraulic control module 157. As further illustrated in FIGS. 15-19, a hammer lift piston 121 is selectively extendable from the hammer lift cylinder 120 for purposes which will be hereinafter described.

A hammer track 96 is coupled to the hammer lift piston 121. As illustrated in FIGS. 12-14A and 19, the hammer track 96 includes a pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart track rails 97. Each of the track rails 97 typically has a channel cross-sectional shape, as illustrated in FIG. 19. Multiple rail connectors 98 connect the track rails 97 to each other. The hammer track 96 may be coupled to the hammer lift piston 121 using any suitable technique which is known by those skilled in the art. As illustrated in FIGS. 15-19, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, an elongated coupling arm 123 is attached to the hammer lift piston 121 through a coupling bracket 122. As illustrated in FIGS. 15-18, the coupling arm 123 is disposed in generally parallel relationship with respect to the hammer lift piston 121. As illustrated in FIG. 19, at least one coupling member 124 extends from the coupling arm 123, through the hammer assembly adjustment space 70 of the boom tower 65. The at least one coupling member 124 is attached to at least one rail connector 98, respectively, of the hammer track 96. Accordingly, extension of the hammer lift piston 121 from the hammer lift cylinder 120 and retraction of the hammer lift piston 121 into the hammer lift cylinder 120 facilitates raising and lowering, respectively, of the hammer track 96 on the boom tower 65. As illustrated in FIG. 14A, an elongated coupling beam 125 may additionally attach the hammer track 96 to the coupling arm 123.

A hammer 84 is adapted to traverse the track rails 97 of the hammer track 96 typically in a manner which will be hereinafter described. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the hammer 84 may have an I-beam construction, including a pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart side hammer plates 85. An elongated connecting hammer plate 86 connects the side hammer plates 85 to each other and is disposed in generally perpendicular relationship with each of the side hammer plates 85. In some embodiments, a main extension plate 87 extends from the side hammer plates 85 adjacent to one end of the hammer 84. A pair of generally elongated, parallel, spaced-apart side extension plates 88 extends from the side hammer plates 85, respectively, on respective sides of the main extension plate 87. An end extension plate 89 extends between the side extension plates 88, at the distal or extending end of the main extension plate 87. Gussets 90 typically extend between the side hammer plates 85 and the side extension plates 88, respectively, for reinforcing purposes. As further illustrated in FIG. 10, a hammer attachment plate 95, having a pin opening 95a, may be provided on the main extension plate 87 of the hammer 84 to facilitate attachment of a safety cable (not illustrated) or the like to the hammer 84 under some circumstances.

The hammer 84 may be adapted to traverse the track rails 97 of the hammer track 96 using any suitable technique which is known by those skilled in the art. As illustrated in FIG. 19, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, multiple hammer rollers 100 are rotatably mounted on the interior surfaces of the side hammer plates 85, respectively, of the hammer 84 such as by wheel mount bolts 101 which extend through wheel mount bolt openings (not illustrated) provided in each side hammer plate 85. The hammer rollers 100 engage the respective track rails 97 of the hammer track 96 and enable the hammer 84 to bidirectionally traverse the rack rails 97 along at least a portion of the length of the hammer track 96.

As illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13, a hammer actuation assembly 102 engages the hammer 84 to facilitate raising and lowering of the hammer 84 on the hammer track 96. The hammer actuation assembly 102 typically includes a hydraulic hammer actuation cylinder 112 which is attached to the hammer track 96 according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art. For example, the hammer actuation cylinder 112 may be attached to at least one rail connector 98 and/or to the coupling beam 125 (FIG. 14A) of the hammer track 96 using welding, fasteners and/or an alternative technique known by those skilled in the art. The hammer actuation cylinder 112 is connected to the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 (FIGS. 1 and 2) on the barge 2 through the hydraulic control module 157. At least one bottom hammer plate 108 is provided on the hammer 84.

A hammer actuation piston 113 is selectively extendable from the hammer actuation cylinder 112 responsive to operation of the hydraulic control module 157. The distal or extending end of the hammer actuation piston 113 is attached to the at least one bottom hammer plate 108 according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art, such as through a piston bracket 114, for example. A spring mount plate 103 is attached to the hammer actuation cylinder 112 using welding, fasteners (not illustrated) and/or alternative attachment techniques. Multiple expansion springs 104 extend between the spring mount plate 103 and the at least one bottom hammer plate 108. The expansion springs 104 are attached to the spring mount plate 103 typically via spring fasteners 116 and to the at least one bottom hammer plate 108 typically via spring fasteners 117. In some embodiments of the apparatus 1, four expansion springs 104 extend between the spring mount plate 103 and the at least one bottom hammer plate 108.

By selective retraction of the hammer actuation piston 113 into the hammer actuation cylinder 112 against the bias exerted by the expansion springs 104, as illustrated in FIG. 12, the expansion springs 104 are compressed between the spring mount plate 103 and the at least one bottom hammer plate 108. Therefore, the expansion springs 104 exert a downward bias against the at least one bottom hammer plate 108, and thus, bias the hammer 84 downwardly on the hammer track 86 in the direction indicated by the arrow 106 in FIG. 12. Upon subsequent release of hydraulic pressure from the hammer actuation piston 113 in the hammer actuation cylinder 112, the initially compressed expansion springs 104 expand and push downwardly against the at least one bottom hammer plate 108 as the hammer actuation piston 113 is passively extended from the hammer actuation cylinder 112. Therefore, the expanding expansion springs 104 drive the hammer 84 downwardly on the hammer track 96, as illustrated in FIG. 13, as the hammer rollers 100 (FIG. 19) traverse the track rails 97 of the hammer track 96. Subsequent re-introduction of hydraulic pressure into the hammer actuation cylinder 112 causes retraction of the hammer actuation piston 113 back into the hammer actuation cylinder 112, thereby compressing the expansion springs 104 between the spring mount plate 103 and the at least one bottom hammer plate 108, as illustrated in FIG. 12.

As illustrated in FIGS. 10-11A, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, all elongated hammer guide arm 91 extends from and is disposed in generally spaced-apart, parallel relationship with respect to the hammer track 96. The hammer 84 slidably engages the hammer guide arm 91 according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art. Therefore, as the hammer 84 traverses the track rails 97 of the hammer track 96, the hammer 84 moves with respect to the hammer guide arm 91 which remains stationary with respect to the hammer track 96. Therefore, the hammer guide arm 91 imparts additional stability to the hammer 84 as the hammer 84 traverses the hammer track 96.

The hammer guide arm 91 can be attached to the hammer track 96 according to any suitable technique which is known by those skilled in the art. As further illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 11A, in some embodiments, a first arm mount bracket 92 and a second arm mount bracket 93 attach the hammer guide arm 91 to an element or elements of the hammer track 96, such as to a rail connector 98 or the coupling beam 125 (FIG. 14A) thereof, for example. Gussets 94 may extend between the hammer guide arm 91 and the second arm mount bracket 93 for reinforcing purposes. The hammer actuation cylinder 112 may be attached to the first arm mount bracket 92 and/or the second arm mount bracket 93 according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art.

As illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 16, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, the hammer 84 is adapted to support an auger 130 which drivingly engages an elongated auger shaft 131 having a spiraled auger blade 132. The hammer 84 may be adapted for attachment of the auger 130 thereto according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art. For example, a pair of spaced-apart auger support brackets 126 may be provided on a side hammer plate 85 of the hammer 84. An auger support frame 128 of the auger 130 engages the auger support brackets 126. Accordingly, the hammer 84 supports the auger 130 above the hammer slot 10 of the barge 2. In typical use of the apparatus 1 as will be hereinafter further described, the hammer lift piston 121 lowers the hammer assembly 82 by actuation of the hammer lift cylinder 120, such that the auger shaft 131 and auger blade 132 of the auger 130 are lowered through the hammer slot 10, as illustrated in FIG. 15, to the water body bed 173 of a water body 172. By actuation of the auger 130, the auger shaft 131 and auger blade 132 are rotated to bore a piling opening 174 (FIG. 16) in the water body bed 173, as illustrated in FIG. 16, for subsequent insertion of a piling 142 (FIGS. 17 and 18) in the piling opening 174.

As further illustrated in FIGS. 15-18, in some embodiments of the apparatus 1, a hydraulic winch motor 137 is provided typically on the boom tower 65 of the boom assembly 50. The winch motor 137 is typically mounted on a winch support 136 which extends from the boom tower 65. Hydraulic hoses 159 connect the winch motor 137 to the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 (FIGS. 1 and 2) through the hydraulic control module 157. The winch motor 137 can be used in a variety of lifting and moving operations as is deemed necessary during operation of the apparatus 1.

Referring next to FIGS. 1, 2 and 20, each support extension cylinder 42 (FIGS. 4 and 5) of each barge support assembly 24; the hammer lift cylinder 120 of the boom assembly 50; the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146; the winch motor 137 (FIGS. 15-18); and the hammer actuation cylinder 112 (FIGS. 15-18) of the hammer assembly 82 are connected to respective lever-actuated valves 160 (FIG. 20) of the hydraulic control module 157 through respective hydraulic hoses 159. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the hydraulic control module 157 is typically mounted on a module support frame 156 which is provided on the barge 2, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. As illustrated in FIG. 20, the hydraulic control module 157 includes multiple hydraulic control levers 158a-158h which are operable to facilitate the flow of hydraulic fluid (not illustrated) from the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 to the support extension cylinder 42, hammer lift cylinder 120, boom assembly positioning cylinder 146, winch motor 137 and hammer actuation cylinder 112, respectively.

In the example illustrated in FIG. 20, the control levers 158a-158d are operable to facilitate flow of hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 to the support extension cylinders 42 (FIGS. 4 and 5) of the respective barge support assemblies 24. Accordingly, when each barge support assembly 24 is deployed in the extended, barge supporting position illustrated in FIG. 4, movement of each control lever 158a-158d of the hydraulic control module 157 to the “UP” position illustrated in FIG. 20 facilitates extension of each support extension piston 43 from the corresponding support extension cylinder 42 and upward travel of each barge support member 36 in the corresponding support assembly housing 25. This facilitates raising of the support foot 37 of each barge support assembly 24 from the water body bed 173 (FIGS. 15-18) of the water body 172 when the barge 2 floats on the water body 172. Conversely, movement of each control lever 158a-158d to the “DOWN” position facilitates retraction of each support extension piston 43 into the corresponding support extension cylinder 42 and downward travel of each barge support member 36 in the corresponding support assembly housing 25. This facilitates lowering of the support foot 37 of each barge support assembly 24 onto the water body bed 173 (FIGS. 15-18) of the water body 172 when the barge 2 floats on the water body 172.

The control lever 158e of the hydraulic control module 157 is operable to facilitate flow of hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 to the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 (FIGS. 4 and 5). Accordingly, movement of the control lever 158e to the “FORWARD” position facilitates extension of the boom assembly positioning piston 147 from the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 and forward travel of the boom platform 60 and boom tower 65 on the boom track 51. Conversely, movement of the control lever 158e to the “REVERSE” position facilitates retraction of the boom assembly positioning piston 147 into the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 and rearward travel of the boom platform 60 and boom tower 65 on the boom track 51.

The control lever 158f of the hydraulic control module 157 is operable to facilitate flow of hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 to the winch motor 137 (FIGS. 15-18). Accordingly, movement of the control lever 158f to the “UP” position in FIG. 20 facilitates operation of the winch motor 137 in a lifting action. Conversely, movement of the control lever 158f to the “DOWN” position facilitates operation of the winch motor 137 in a lowering action.

The control lever 158g of the hydraulic control module 157 is operable to facilitate flow of hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 to the hammer lift cylinder 120 (FIGS. 15-18). Accordingly, movement of the control lever 158g to the “UP” position in FIG. 20 facilitates extension of the hammer lift piston 121 from the hammer lift cylinder 120 and lifting of the hammer assembly 82 on the boom tower 65. Conversely, movement of the control lever 158g to the “DOWN” position facilitates retraction of the hammer lift piston 121 into the hammer lift cylinder 120 and lowering of the hammer assembly 82 on the boom tower 65.

The control lever 158h of the hydraulic control module 157 is operable to facilitate the flow of hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic pump and supply mechanism 150 to the hammer actuation cylinder 112 (FIGS. 11-13). Accordingly, movement of the control lever 158h to the “UP” position in FIG. 20 facilitates retraction of the hammer actuation piston 113 into the hammer actuation cylinder 112, thereby compressing the expansion springs 104 between the spring mount plate 103 and the at least one bottom hammer plate 108, as illustrated in FIG. 12. Conversely, movement of the control lever 158h to the “DOWN” position facilitates passive extension of the hammer actuation piston 113 from the hammer actuation cylinder 112 as the initially compressed expansion springs 104 expand between the spring mount plate 103 and the at least one bottom hammer plate 108, as illustrated in FIG. 13, driving the hammer 84 downwardly on the track rails 97 of the hammer track 96.

Referring next to FIGS. 4, 5, 11-13, 15-18 and 20-22 of the drawings, in typical application, the apparatus 1 is operated to drive multiple pilings 142 (FIGS. 21 and 22) into a water body bed 173 (FIGS. 15-19) of a water body 172 such as a river, lake or the like in the construction of a structure (not illustrated) on the water body 172. Accordingly, the barge 2 floats on the surface of the water body 172 as the barge 2 is navigated into proper position for driving a piling 142 into the water body bed 173 typically by operation of the outboard motors 18. During navigation of the barge 2 on the water body 173, the barge support assemblies 24 are each typically deployed in the folded, barge transport position illustrated in FIG. 5, in which position the barge support member 36 of each barge support assembly 24 typically rests on an assembly support stand 46 provided on the barge 2.

When the barge 2 is navigated into the proper position for installation of the piling 142 in the water body bed 173, the barge support assemblies 24 are pivoted from the folded, barge transport position illustrated in FIG. 5 to the extended, barge supporting position illustrated in FIG. 4. The support assembly housing 25 of each barge support assembly 24 is retained in the extended, barge supporting position typically by extending the housing retainer pin 35 through the pin openings (not illustrated) provided in the housing retainer flanges 34, as illustrated in FIG. 6A. The support extension cylinder 42 of each barge support assembly 24 is operated typically by actuation of the corresponding hydraulic control lever 158a-158d (FIG. 20) of the hydraulic control module 157 to retract the support extension piston 43 into the corresponding support extension cylinder 42. Therefore, the support extension piston 43 lowers each barge support member 36 through the corresponding support assembly housing 25 until the support foot 37 of each barge support assembly 24 rests on the water body bed 173 of the water body 172. Thus, the barge support assemblies 24 stabilize the barge 2 on the surface of the water body 172 and prevent the apparatus 1 from shifting out of the proper position during installation of the piling 142 into the water body bed 173.

After positioning and stabilization of the barge 2 on the water body 172 is achieved, the position of the boom platform 60 and boom tower 65 along the boom track 51 is adjusted to place the hammer 84 in the proper position along the hammer slot 10 for installation of the piling 142. Displacement of the boom platform 60 and boom tower 65 along the boom track 51 is facilitated typically by operation of the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 and boom assembly positioning piston 147 through forward or reverse manipulation of the hydraulic control lever 158e (FIG. 20), as appropriate, on the hydraulic control module 157. Accordingly, forward movement of the hydraulic control lever 158e facilitates extension of the boom assembly positioning piston 147 from the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 and travel of the boom platform 60, boom tower 65 and hammer 84 in a forward position along the boom track 51. Conversely, rearward movement of the hydraulic control lever 158e facilitates retraction of the boom assembly positioning piston 147 into the boom assembly positioning cylinder 146 and travel of the boom platform 60, boom tower 65 and hammer 84 in a rearward position along the boom track 51.

After location of the hammer 84 at the proper position along the hammer slot 10, the hammer assembly 82 is raised or lowered, as appropriate, on the boom tower 65 preparatory to installation of the piling 142 into the water body bed 173. This is facilitated typically by operation of the hammer lift cylinder 120 and hammer lift piston 121 through forward or reverse manipulation of the hydraulic control lever 158g (FIG. 20), as appropriate, on the hydraulic control module 157. Accordingly, forward movement of the hydraulic control lever 158g facilitates extension of the hammer lift piston 121 from the hammer lift cylinder 120 such that the coupling arm 123 raises the hammer track 96 and hammer 84 on the boom tower 65. Conversely, rearward movement of the hydraulic control lever 158g facilitates retraction of the hammer lift piston 121 into the hammer lift cylinder 120 such that the coupling arm 123 lowers the hammer track 96 and hammer 84 on the boom tower 65.

After location of the hammer 84 at the proper height on the boom tower 65, a piling 142 is placed on the water body bed 173 beneath the hammer 84, as illustrated in FIG. 17. The hammer 84 is then operated to reciprocate on the hammer track 96 and repeatedly strike and drive the piling 142 into the water body bed 173 in a reciprocating hammer action. The reciprocating hammer action of the hammer 84 on the hammer track 96 is facilitated typically by operation of the hammer actuation cylinder 112 and expansion springs 104 (FIGS. 12 and 13) of the hammer actuation assembly 102 through repeated forward and reverse manipulation of the hydraulic control lever 158h on the hydraulic control module 157. Accordingly, forward movement of the hydraulic control lever 158h facilitates retraction of the hammer actuation piston 113 into the hammer actuation cylinder 112 and raising of the hammer 84 on the hammer track 96 to compress the expansion springs 104 between the spring mount plate 103 and the bottom hammer plate or plates 108 of the hammer 84, as illustrated in FIG. 12. Conversely, reverse movement of the hydraulic control lever 158h facilitates release of hydraulic pressure in the hammer actuation cylinder 112 and passive retraction of the hammer actuation piston 113 into the hammer actuation cylinder 112 as the compressed expansion springs 104 expand, as illustrated in FIG. 13, and drive the hammer 84 downwardly on the hammer track 96 until the hammer 84 strikes the piling 142 and incrementally drives the piling 142 into the water body bed 173, as illustrated in FIG. 18. As the piling 142 is progressively driven into the water body bed 173, the hammer assembly 82 can be correspondingly lowered on the boom tower 65 by retraction of the hammer lift piston 121 (FIGS. 15 and 16 into the hammer lift cylinder 120 (typically by rearward movement of the hydraulic control lever 158g on the hydraulic control module 157), as deemed necessary. The winch motor 137 (FIGS. 15-18) can be used in a variety of lifting and moving operations as are deemed necessary during operation of the apparatus 1.

As illustrated in FIGS. 21 and 22, in a typical piling installation sequence using the apparatus 1, each of multiple pilings 142 is driven into the water body bed 173 while the barge 2 is disposed in generally parallel, spaced-apart relationship with respect to a bank 175 of the water body 172. After each piling 142 is driven into the water body bed 173, as illustrated in FIG. 21, the barge 2 is maneuvered into the adjacent position to drive the next piling 142 into the water body bed 173, as illustrated in FIG. 22. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the position of the hammer 84 with respect to the hammer slot 10 in the barge 2 facilitates expeditious maneuvering and relocation of the barge 2 from one location to the next for the successive installation of multiple pilings 142 in the water body bed 173. Furthermore, multiple pilings 142 can be driven into the water body bed 173 along the length of the hammer slot 10 by initially driving a first piling 142 into the water body bed 173 at a first position along the hammer slot 10, repositioning the boom platform 60 and boom tower 65 forwardly or rearwardly along the boom track 51 into a second position along the hammer slot 10 and driving a second piling 142 into the water body bed 173 at the second position.

Under some circumstances during the course of installing the pilings 142 into the water body bed 173, it may become necessary or desirable to position the boom platform 60 and boom tower 65 on the rail extensions 52a of the boom track rails 52, as indicated in phantom in FIG. 2. Preparatory to maneuvering or transport of the apparatus 1 on the water body 172, the barge support assemblies 24 are returned to the folded, barge transport position illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6B by extending each barge support member 36 upwardly in the corresponding support assembly housing 25 (through operation of the support extension cylinder 42 and support extension piston 43); removing each housing retainer pin 35 from the retainer pin openings (not illustrated) in the housing mount flanges 29; and pivoting each support assembly housing 25 to rest on the assembly support stand 46 (FIGS. 4 and 5).

As illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 16, under some circumstances, such as in the case of a compact, dense or rocky water body bed 173, it may be necessary to initially bore a piling opening 174 (FIG. 16) in the water body bed 173 followed by installation of a piling 142 into the piling opening 174. Accordingly, an auger support frame 128, on which is supported an auger 130, is attached to the auger support bracket 126 on the hammer 84 according to the knowledge of those skilled in the art. The auger 130 drivingly engages an elongated auger shaft 131 having a spiraled auger blade 132. Accordingly, the auger 130 is operated to rotate the auger shalt 131 and auger blade 132 as the hammer assembly 82 is lowered on the boom tower 65 by operation of the hammer lift cylinder 120. The rotating auger blade 132 bores the piling opening 174 in the water body bed 173, as illustrated in FIG. 16. The piling 142 is typically then placed in the piling opening 174 and driven into the water body bed 173 typically in the manner which was heretofore described with respect to FIGS. 17 and 18.

While the preferred embodiments of the disclosure have been described above, it will be recognized and understood that various modifications can be made in the disclosure and the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications which may fall within the spirit and scope of the disclosure.