Knowledge Base

Ground Screw Installation Machines: The Do's and the Don'ts

With the growing demand for sustainable foundations and having a reliable ground screw installation machine being a must for any business installing ground screws, we have prepared the following summary of the do’s and don’ts to care for your equipment.

At RADIX, we supply a range of ground screw installation machines for installing ground screws, and they all have slightly different operational and maintenance requirements.

Although these machines are robust, they are subject to some strenuous work, and it is essential to look after and maintain them.

The Do’s

  1. Store your machine properly, preferably in a protective case
  2. If machines are subject to wet weather dry them off and leave them to air in a dry environment
  3. Complete regular maintenance including general cleaning of machine, visual check of cables & brushes
  4. Replace carbon brushes when required.
  5. Replace power cable if damaged.
  6. Always ensure the machine is fully stopped before switching between forward and reverse.
  7. Always ensure the machine is fully stopped before switching between speeds.

The Don'ts

  1. Leave machine exposed to adverse weather conditions for prolonged periods.
  2. Overstress machine installing incorrect diameter and/or length of screws.
  3. Switch between forward and reverse whilst machine is running.
  4. It is highly recommended to leave in Low Gear (L) as High Gear (H) can be too fast for the operator and reduces the torque significantly.
  5. Switch between speeds whilst machine is still running.
  6. Continue to use machine if power cable is damaged.
  7. Continue to use machine if carbon brushes need replaced.

Common ground screw machine problems

My installation machine is intermittently working or comes to a complete stop

We find most of the time this is electrical and is either a broken cable or the machine needs the brushes replaced. The power cable is often subject to being strained whilst the machines are in operation and being moved about between screws. Often the cable breaks where it connects directly to the machine. We would suggest having the power cable replaced by a qualified person and checking if your fault is now resolved.

Another common issue is the electrical carbon brushes are worn and need to be replaced. The brushes create an electrical contact between the fixed wiring and the motor that rotates your drive. Brushes are in pairs and can be easily replaced by removing the faulty brushes and replacing them. We recommend these are always replaced in pairs by a qualified and/or competent person. The wear on carbon brushes will vary depending on the machine, the number of hours it is worked and how hard the machine has been worked. Intermittent running, sparking, smoking or a burning odour from the machine can be key indicators that brushes are worn and need to be replaced.

On rare occasions we have experienced gearboxes have been stripped. Ground screw turning machines are subject to a huge amount of strain, especially when installing ground screws into tough ground conditions. The gearboxes are simple in design, made up of a central input gear and several outer gears. This reduces the input RPM and produces lower RPM and greater torque which is required when installing ground screws.

Turning machines have different torque capacities and vary in build quality. If a machine of insufficient capacity is utilised in the installation of ground screws this can cause the gears to be stripped.

RDX 5.5 ground screw installation machine

My installation machine is not working in either forward or reverse

The most common cause for your machine not working in either forward or reverse is a fault on the forward/reverse switch. If the electrical contacts become burnt out the switch will need to be replaced. The main root cause is operator error, switching the machine between forward and reverse whilst the machine is still running kills the switch.

Out of everything noted above, the most destructive is switching your machine between forward and reverse before switching the machine off and the drive coming to a complete standstill. This is not only very bad for the electrical unit, but it puts enormous stress on the gearbox with the sudden change of direction. Just think of jamming your car in reverse when it is still travelling forward, you wouldn’t would you

If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.