Groundforce Launches Revolutionary Product

22 Sep

Groundforce unveils SheetMaster, another first in construction site safety.

Handling and installing trench sheets is now quicker, more controllable and safer thanks to SheetMaster, the new three-in-one revolutionary trench sheet handling tool from Groundforce Shorco.

SheetMaster is a multi-function sheet handling and installation attachment that connects to an excavator boom via a standard quick-hitch coupler. 

Designed to replace three regularly-used trench sheet handling tools on site, each of which has its limitations. With SheetMaster, there is no 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.

This is the latest product eminating from Groundforce’s on-going product development forum, who have introduced a range of new shoring related products over the past few years. “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,” comments Groundforce Shorco Technical Director Tony Gould. 

Following live trials with contractors, first impressions on SheetMaster have been very positive. 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.

“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,” explains Tony. 

“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,” he adds.

Once the sheet has been toed-in by the excavator, the spring loaded pin is released by pulling on a lanyard which then allows about 300mm of vertical movement, allowing the SheetMaster to be used as a hammer to drive the sheet to depth or refusal. 

“This means you don’t need to fit a driving cap to prevent damage to the top of the sheet,” says Tony. Traditionally, a heavy steel driving cap is placed over the top of the sheet; not an easy or safe operation if the sheet is several metres up in the air. Again, enhanced safety is the main benefit here, although savings in time and labour are also factors.

When it comes to extracting driven sheets at the end of the job, SheetMaster is simply placed over the top of the sheet and the pin re-engaged with the shackle-hole. It is then a simple matter of pulling the sheet out of the ground with the excavator.

Two interchangeable leg-sets are available to allow most types of trench sheets in Groundforce’s fleet to be handled, says Tony. “This is the first product of its kind to combine all three sheet handling tools together. It’s a revolutionary product for the industry”.