SheetMaster connects to an excavator boom via a standard quick-hitch coupler and is designed to replace three regularly-used trench sheet handling tools on site.
SheetMaster ends the need for pitching or quick release shackles – used to lift the sheet into the vertical for positioning, driving caps to protect the sheet from damage or extraction chains to pull the sheet out of the ground.
Groundforce Shorco Technical Director Tony Gould said: “We are always looking at how we can provide contractors with new solutions to common problems and ways of making the job easier, quicker and safer.”
The system has already been trialled with contractors.
Mike Parker, Gallagher Group Site Manager said: “We think this is definitely a step forward in site safety and working at heights.
“As you would expect it took our guys a bit of getting used to at first, but once they were familiar with how it worked they all agreed that it will further improve site safety.”
The SheetMaster comprises a pair of slotted legs which engage over the top of the sheet. A spring-loaded pin located on the upper leg engages with the shackle-hole in the sheet to hold it firmly in place.
With the sheet secured in the SheetMaster, the operator then lifts it into the vertical and, using the excavator’s hydraulic controls, “pitches” the sheet ready for driving.
Gould said: “Because the sheet is held firmly in the SheetMaster device, it is more easily controlled by the driver and won’t sway about in the breeze, unlike a sheet suspended from traditional shackles.
“Normally, the banksman or someone else would need to manually steady the sheet to position it. With the SheetMaster, there’s no need for anybody to go near the suspended sheet during this safety critical operation, so it’s much safer.”
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