Manufor Fondations is underpinning the foundations of the "Knibbeler" apartment block at Saint-Saulve near Valenciennes. A fascinating but highly technical project with many problems meant that the company had to acquire an HX10A Hyundai Construction Equipment compact excavator from Promatex.
Established in April 2008 by Bertrand Wydooghe, SARL Manufor Fondations specialises in micro-piles, foundations, short piles, underpinning and repairs after damage. Based at two sites, one at Sailly-sur-la-Lys (Pas-de-Calais) which includes the head office and the other at Haubourdin (Nord) which includes the depot, the company has 21 employees and undertakes around forty construction projects per year, "ranging from a gauge-laying project to monitor cracks, starting at 400 Euros, to an almost 4 million Euro project like that at Saint-Saulve", explains Bertrand Wydooghe.
The company has a turnover of around 4 million Euro and is showing annual growth. "We have 3 divisions: Manufor Matériels, Manufor Conseils (which has just been established), and of course Manufor Fondations. Naturally the 3 complement each other", adds the Director, formerly the Project Manager for Queyrie (Eiffage) and later Business Manager at Freyssinnet (Vinci).
Saving a building
The company, which is based in the north of France, has spent just over a year working on the site of the Knibbeler building which dates from the 1960s in Saint-Saulve. The building has 58 co-owners who noticed the cracks appearing in the facades. Following consultations and legal assessments, it was found that the building was slowly subsiding, and the foundations of 12 to 15 metres depth had to be underpinned as they had not been supported.
The company often undertakes underpinning work, but was here faced with one of the major difficulties of the site: its restricted size. "Also, the plans from when the building was constructed were incorrect. We should have found 136 piles, and we're now on 160 and the work is far from complete. The originally specified lines of 4 piles have "transformed" into lines of 5, 6 or even 7. There is no symmetry relative to the building. The plans for electricity supply and drainage are also incorrect", explains the Director of Manufor Fondations.
"The space available for access below the building is very limited, and we've had to adapt our equipment accordingly, in particular the excavators", he adds. For example, a conveyor belt and not a wheeled loader extracts the soil from the working face to the outside.
Costs similar to a used machine
So Bertrand Wydooghe called on the Promatex dealer in the north of France to buy a Hyundai Construction Equipment compact excavator, and opted for the HX10A, "a model I'd seen at Matexpo in Courtrai, and which was delivered 15 days after order". The company also has a 60CR-9 and a 17Z-9A from Hyundai Construction Equipment in use on this project.
But for this project and its particular features, the HX10A compact excavator was the ideal machine. Size, weight and price were the main criteria for Bertrand Wydooghe, and the HX10A was perfect. "Also, its cost is close to a used machine at around 2000 Euro", he adds. "In contrast to other models of the same tonnage, its power is very satisfactory. The operators are delighted", confirms Bertrand Wydooghe. On this project, equipped with a 50 L bucket, the HX10A is in demand for clearing and loading the conveyor belt. A feeling shared by Steve Olivares, who has worked for Manufor Fondations since 2011: "This model is very agile but also flexible, and for a small machine it's pretty stable. It's also manoeuvrable to fit between the piles. It will even go below the conveyor belt. The position of the controls is very ergonomic and convenient. It's easy to get to grips with."
Finally, Bertrand Wydooghe would certainly buy another HX10A from Promatex, because "when we get towards the back of the building, will have to continue to load the conveyor belt which will be even longer then", says the Director. "The idea is to get the same one because its height (1436 mm) and width (730 mm) fit everywhere", he concludes.
The HX10A crawler excavator in figures:
• Engine: Yanmar 3 TNV70
• Net power: 9.9 kW / 13.3 hp
• Loaded weight: 1032 to 1087 kg
• Machine width / track width: 730 mm / 700 - 860 mm
• Maximum digging depth: 1766 mm
• Maximum digging radius: 3092 mm
• Tail swing radius: 747 mm
• Bucket breakout force (ISO): 8.9 kN
• Arm tear-out force (ISO): 4.5 kN
• Smallest machine in the range
• Top-mounted boom cylinder
• Easy access engine
• Folding ROPS bar with two uprights
• Variable undercarriage
• Extendable blade
• Ideal for the cramped narrow sites
• No risk of damage during loading
• Easy maintenance
• Enters buildings easily through standard doors
• Increased stability if and when necessary
• Earthworking over full track width