Copyright © 2011-18 Helical Pile World, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
by Bill Bonekemper
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
This article takes a close look at the helical pile products manufactured by seven companies all of which are based in the United States. The seven companies include:
- Earth Contact Products (ECP) – Olathe, KS
- Empire Piers (Empire) – Winfield, MO
- Foundation Supportworks (FSI) – Omaha, NE
- Hubbell-Chance (CHANCE) – Centralia, MO
- IDEAL Foundation Systems (IDEAL) – Rochester, NY
- MacLean Power Systems, Civil Products Group (MPS Civil) – Fort Mill, NC
- Ram Jack Systems Distribution (Ram Jack) – Ada, Oklahoma
All seven companies offer helical products designed for the new construction market as well as remedial applications like underpinning and earth retention. Additionally, all seven companies offer product solutions for the marine and utility markets including alternative power applications like solar and wind. It is noteworthy that all seven companies offer a wide variety of pile caps, brackets and other connection-to-structure products, but this article does not cover these products.
The majority of the helical products manufactured by the seven companies have ultimate capacity ratings of 200 kips (889.6 kN) or less. Five of the companies offer a variety of larger diameter round shaft helical piles ranging in size from 4.5 inches (114.3 mm) to 8.625 inches (219.1 mm), and sizes larger than this are treated as special requests. IDEAL and Empire also offer those sizes, but they also maintain an inventory of larger diameter pipe and heavy duty helix bearing plates.
Specialty Helical Pile Products
All seven manufacturers offer specialty products for a wide variety of markets and applications including:
- Interstate highway signs and lights
- Railroad signs and lights
- Residential street lights
- Oil and gas drilling and pipelines
- Electric transmission
- Solar arrays
- Wind turbines
While these products are not listed on each company’s product table in this article, people interested in these products should visit manufacturers’ websites and/or contact the companies for additional information.
Engineering Support for Dealers and Installers
In addition to offering a wide variety of helical pile products, all seven companies offer in-depth engineering support for their respective network of dealers and installers. This support is essential in today’s helical pile marketplace – especially for installers who do not have engineers on staff. Often times, deep foundation projects can be redesigned and/or value engineered, and helical piles can be used as an alternative to other piling systems that may have been specified in the original plans.
Round Corner Square Bar and Hollow Square Tube Products
CHANCE, ECP, Empire, FSI and MPS Civil all offer the 1.5 in. (38.1 mm) round corner solid square shaft product.
CHANCE, IDEAL, and MPS Civil offer round corner solid square bar products in 1.75 in. (44.5 mm) and 2.0 in. (51 mm). ECP, Empire and FSI offer 1.75 in. (44.5 mm).
CHANCE and ECP are the only two manufacturers that offer the 2.25 in. (57.15 mm) round corner square bar product.
Ram Jack offers these products upon special request only.
Empire is the only company of the seven to offer a line of hollow square tube helical piles ranging in size from 2.0 in. (51 mm) to 4.0 in. (102 mm).
Round Shaft Products
There are significant differences in the round shaft helical pile sizes offered by the seven manufacturers. It is important to note that all manufacturers do offer special or custom order options for customers that require sizes not listed as standard in company literature.
Ram Jack is the only manufacturer that offers a 1.63 in. (41.4 mm) diameter by 0.23 in. (5.84 mm) wall pile.
IDEAL and Ram Jack offer a 2.38 in. (6.1 mm) diameter by 0.19 in. (4.8 mm) wall pile. FSI also offers the same diameter pile but with a wall thickness of 0.15 in. (3.8 mm).
All seven manufacturers offer the most popular size round shaft piles ranging in diameters from 2.875 in. (73 mm) to 4.5 in. (114.3 mm) as standard products listed in company literature.
CHANCE, FSI, IDEAL, Empire and MPS CIVIL all offer larger diameter round shaft piles with diameters ranging from 5.5 in. (139.7 mm) to 8.625 in. (219.1 mm) listed in company literature.
Empire offers a 10.75 in. (273 mm) diameter pile and a 12.75 in. (324 mm) diameter pile.
IDEAL offers the largest selection of larger diameter piles as listed in company literature with pile diameters up to 36 in. (914.4 mm).
IDEAL and Empire both offer round shaft helical piles made from API steel – the grade of steel used for drilling in the petroleum industry. According to company literature, this grade of steel results in helical pile products with greater torsional and load capacities.
See all manufacturers’ product tables (below) for detailed product specifications
Helix Bearing Plate Options
All seven companies offer a variety of helix bearing plates with the most common sizes ranging from 8 in. (203 mm) to 16 in. (406 mm) in diameter and steel thicknesses ranging from 0.375 in. (9.5 mm) to 0.675 in. (17.2 mm).
MPS Civil also offers 20 in. (508 mm) and 24 in. (609.6 mm) bearing plates for their 8.625 in. (219.1 mm) product.
IDEAL offers the largest diameter and thickest bearing plates with diameters up to 30 in. (762 mm) and steel thicknesses to 2.0 in. (50.8 mm).
As you can see in the product tables below for each company, there are also options available for both the thickness and the grade of steel to be used when manufacturing the bearing plates – greater thickness and/or higher steel grades to achieve greater bearing capacity.
Section Coupling Methods
Ram Jack is the only manufacturer that offers a threaded coupling method whereby the sections are screwed together. They offer bolted connections as well.
All seven companies offer single and multi-bolted connection options depending upon the size and torsional capacity of the helical pile.
CHANCE specifies grade 2 studs for use with their 6.625 in (168.3 mm) and 8.625 in (219.1 mm) diameter round shaft products.
While MPS Civil coupling method utilizes bolts as well, the bolts are used in conjunction with a male-female square engagement coupling method. According to company literature, this patented method is designed to virtually eliminate bolt-hole elongation as the bolts are not put in shear during pile installation.
Corrosion Protection Options
All seven manufacturers offer the bare steel option – no coating. All the manufacturers also offer hot dip galvanizing to ASTM specifications as an option for corrosion protection.
Ram Jack is the only manufacturer that offers polymer coating per the ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria AC 228 as standard.
Building Code Certifications
Certifications by code officials are issued for each helical pile product separately as submitted by manufacturers. Manufacturers can receive certifications for multiple products, but each product they choose to submit must pass the corresponding acceptance criteria. The following manufacturers have received certifications from one or more building code organizations for specific products including:
- CHANCE – ICC-ES ESR-2794, LARR-25984 for models #SS5 & #SS175; CCMC-13193-R for model #SS175
- Foundation Supportworks – ICC-ES ESR-3074, LARR-25990, CCMC 13556-R – for model # HP288
- MacLean Power Civil Products Group – ICC-ES ESR-3032, LARR-25629 – for Models #D6, #D10, #P28 & #P35
- Ram Jack Systems Distribution – ICC-ES ESR-1854, LARR-25909, Florida BC – for Models #46 & #438
Upon release of this article, Earth Contact Products has an ICC-ES ESR certification “pending” for the #TAF150 & #TAF-288H products.
Code certification for specific helical pile products is noted on each manufacturer’s product table (accessed below).
Earth Contact Products
ECP offers both RCS and round shaft helical piles as stocking items. As detailed in the company’s product table (link below), the company offers three RCS products ranging in size from – 1.50 in (38.1 mm) to 2.25 in (57.2 mm). The company offers five round shaft products ranging in diameters from 2.875 in. (73 mm) to 4.50 in. (114.3 mm).
Earth Contact Products
15612 South Keeler Terrace
Olathe, KS 66062
Empire offers RCS, hollow square tube and round shaft helical piles as stocking items. As detailed in the company’s product table (link below), the company offers two standard RCS products - 1.50 in (38.1 mm) and 1.75 in (44.5 mm) shaft thicknesses. The company also offers hollow square tube products in 2.00 in. (50.8 mm) and 4.00 in. (101.6 mm) diameters. The company also offers ten round shaft helical piles ranging in diameters from 2.375 in. (60.3 mm) to 12.75 in. (323.9 mm).
2656 East Hwy 47
Winfield, MO 63389
Foundation Supportworks offers both RCS and round shaft helical piles as stocking items. As detailed in the company’s product table (link below), the company’s standard RCS product line includes two products – 1.50 in (38.1 mm) and 1.75 in (44.5 mm) shaft thicknesses. The company offers seven round shaft products ranging in diameters from 2.38 in. (60.3 mm) to 7.00 in. (177.8 mm).
12330 Cary Circle
Omaha, NE 68128
CHANCE offers both RCS and round shaft helical piles as stocking items. As detailed in the company’s product table (link below), the company offers six standard RCS products ranging in sizes from 1.25 in. (31.8 mm) to 2.25 in. (57.2 mm) shaft thicknesses. The company offers six round shaft helical piles ranging in diameters from 2.88 in. (73 mm) to 8.63 in. (219.1 mm).
210 N. Allen Street
Centralia, MO 65240
IDEAL Foundation Systems
IDEAL offers both RCS and round shaft helical piles as stocking items. As detailed in the company’s product table (link below), the company offers two standard RCS products - 1.75 in. (44.5 mm) and 2.00 in. (50.8 mm) shaft thicknesses. The company offers sixteen round shaft helical piles ranging in diameters from 2.375 in. (60.3 mm) to 36.00 in. (914.4 mm).
IDEAL Foundation Systems
999 Picture Parkway
Webster, NY 14580
MacLean Power Systems – Civil Products Group
MacLean’s Civil Products Group offers both RCS and round shaft helical piles as stocking items. As detailed in the company’s product table (link below), the company’s standard RCS product line includes four products ranging in size from – 1.50 in. (38.1 mm) to 2.00 in. (50.8 mm) shaft thicknesses. The company offers seven round shaft products ranging in diameters from 2.875 in. (73 mm) to 8.625 in. (219.1 mm).
MacLean Power Systems
Civil Products Group
481 Munn Road, Ste 300
Fort Mill, SC 28715
Ram Jack Systems Distribution
As mentioned earlier, Ram Jack will manufacture RCS products by special request and therefore does not stock them. As detailed in the company’s product table (link below), the company’s standard helical product line includes five round shaft helical products ranging in diameters from 1.63 in. (41.3 mm) to 4.50 in. (114.3 mm).
13655 CR 1570
Ada, OK 74820
A Close Up Look at Seven Helical Pile