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Wide sheet piles give a competitive edge


Sir, Reading David Jones's letter (Sheet Piles have limits, Letters, March 5), gave me a feeling of deja vu.

In 1994 the 525 mm sheet pile was superseded by the 600 mm-wide pile in the UK and contractors alleged this would disadvantage plant owners.

But which one is now quoted as the industry standard?

Wide piles outsell the 600 mm range worldwide by a substantial margin and account for one in every four piles bought for British jobs.

Perhaps this is not surprising as clients, consultants and contractors can make significant savings by exploiting the advantages of wide piles. By viewing the section tables, the strength-to-weight ratio of our 600 mm-wide PU piles, 750 mm-wide AU piles and the optimal AZ range can be compared.

Far from imposing wider piles on the industry, it is our strategy to offer maximum choice.

U-shapes are available from 400 mm wide up to the 750 mm-wide AU piles. Indeed customers' interests have been the subject of development work that has culminated in the new PU18 and PU22 sections, which offer improved drivability and a better strength-to-weight ratio.

If the sheet piling industry is to advance in the face of stiff competition it has to be innovative and investment by all parties may be needed. Since PU18, AU18 and AZ18 piles are available at the same price per tonne, Mr Jones is able to offer 600 mm-wide piles driven with his plant against a competitor choosing to use AU18 or AZ18 piles with different installation techniques.

The winner will be the client, who gets the most economical total package, and everyone in the sheet piling industry will be more competitive and hence more successful.

Richard Dinnis General manager Arcelor RPS UK Ltd Scunthorpe