What’s in Your Toolbox?
Published: 27/6, 2022
Minimizing effort and maximizing efficiency on any job requires the right tool. For concrete demolition contractors determining which machine provides the optimal power-to-weight ratio for the task at hand should be the first consideration. Many options are available, but remote-controlled demolition machines provide the power, versatility and efficiency to master a number of applications, especially in congested urban areas such as indoor and top-down demolition. The important decisions don’t stop with the carrier, though. Identifying the right bit for the task at hand can increase efficiency, whereas a mismatch can slow down productivity or leave behind unsatisfactory results. Knowing the difference gives savvy contractors a huge advantage in an increasingly competitive field. A toolbox full of bits isn’t necessary for every concrete demolition contractor, though. It all depends on application.
Every Contractor’s Friend – Moil Point
The most common bit found on jobsites is the moil point. Shaped like a pencil, it’s ideal for breaking hard concrete reinforced with rebar. This design focuses the entire force of the hammer and carrier in a 1/4-in (6.35mm) point, making it an optimal choice for indoor applications and other situations where vibrations are unacceptable.
The moil point also offers good control. Operators can demolish around rebar with precision and efficiency for applications such as walls, footings, floors foundations, or machine bases. However, it does not provide the level of precision necessary for fine detail work. The cone-shaped head is also at risk of getting stuck when breaking concrete, the result of material failing to expand fast enough and trapping dust close to the tool, lodging it in place. Operators can avoid this by paying special attention to the running time of the hammer. If the hammer runs for more than 20 seconds in the same spot without noticeable results, the tools should be removed from the hole immediately or else risk having the bit become stuck.
Several variations of the moil point offer further efficiency in certain situations. A pyramidal moil point, also known as a “nail head”, for example, provides minor torsion and a wedge effect in four directions, making it more efficient as a dividing tool, particularly for larger diameter tools. The slight variation in shape also keeps the “nail head” from getting stuck as often.
Detail Oriented – Chisel
Similar in appearance to a flat-head screwdriver, chisels are available in standard and wide widths. They provide strong torsion and good penetration, resulting in the best splitting action, making them ideal for trimming applications, including floors, walls, and foundations, as well as demolishing reinforced columns, supports, and blocks. For example, the chisel can be used to clean between rebar on a slab edge to ensure an ideal bonding surface for pouring concrete. This tool also offers the best precision for fine detail work, such as shaving down high points or blowouts from slurry walls.
Heavy Hitters – Blunt
This tool features a flat face with more surface area to deliver a wider area of impact when breaking slab concrete. The blunt tool is ideal for floors, recycling, concrete-encased steel beams, and certain roadwork applications. Energy is distributed across the whole face of the tool, covering a significantly larger surface area than moil and chisel bits for maximum breaking efficiency.
Working with a blunt tool produces additional vibrations, which limits its use to situations like indoor and top-down demolition and some road and bridge repair applications. On the other hand, those vibrations can be advantageous for removing concrete from around steel beams, as it encourages the concrete to “walk away” for easier removal. This tool can also be used for bridge beam testing, as it can create a pocket just small enough to inspect the steel beam beneath the concrete.
Maximum Destruction — Slab Buster
When a project calls for maximum destructive power, the slab buster, or “elephant foot,” is the ideal choice. The bell-shaped slab buster distributes energy over a surface area three times its size, doubling production of both slab and on-grade demolition. The slab buster also creates powerful vibrations and provides very little precision, so it is not ideal for every situation. However, for a thin slab floor with no vibration restrictions, this tool offers maximum demolition efficiency.
So, What’s in Your Toolbox?
When it comes to increasing efficiency in concrete demolition, a little forethought and the right tool for the job can go a long way. Expertly selecting a bit based on project needs can speed up production, leaving crews free to move on to the next job that much sooner. While a moil point can often handle the bulk of a contractors work, keeping an assortment of tools in their toolbox will increase versatility and efficiency.