There are a lot of different attachments for breaking up concrete. A hydraulic hammer is the most common one used, and in many situations it makes the most sense. But in certain applications, there might be a better choice. Here's a look at some other attachments that can be a good option.
Leading Edge Multi-Ripper
Contractors first used the Multi-Ripper and Multi-Ripper Bucket attachments for ripping through rock, sandstone, coral, limestone and volcanic rock, as well as frozen ground. But according to Lee Horton at Leading Edge Attachments, contractors are now finding uses for it in breaking concrete.
The Multi-Ripper features three shanks staggered forward and sideways so no two teeth align with each other, providing maximum breakout force. The distance from the excavator stick pivot to the tooth tips is also considerably shorter than a standard bucket. The result: the Multi-Ripper can break concrete four times faster than a hydraulic hammer. For added convenience, the Multi-Ripper bucket offers the ability to break concrete, then lift and load it into a truck.
"The Multi-Ripper acts like a trencher to rip the concrete into 8- to 10-inch chunks," says Horton. "Concrete is really strong in compression, but not in tension. The ripper takes advantage of this by breaking concrete in a way that it comes apart easily."
Horton recalls one utility contractor who was using the Multi-Ripper to dig trenches. "He came upon a 2-foot-thick concrete wall and ripped through it like it was limestone," he says.
Because the Multi-Ripper is mechanical rather than hydraulic, cost is considerably less than a traditional hammer, Horton notes. For comparison he offers the following example: A Multi-Ripper for an 80,000-pound Caterpillar 330 excavator costs about a tenth of that for a hydraulic hammer for the same size carrier, plus the hammer requires a hydraulic kit at an additional cost.
The Multi-Ripper features replaceable teeth and is manufactured from Hardox 400 steel plate for durability. It's available for use on excavators up to 220,000 pounds.
Bobcat Drop Hammer
Bobcat's Drop Hammer delivers 3,600 foot-pounds of impact force for breaking large, flat slabs of concrete and asphalt up to 18 inches thick. "That's significantly greater than the 300- to 750-foot-pound ratings of a typical breaker, so it's very productive for breaking thick, horizontal surfaces," says Justin Odegaard, attachment product representative at Bobcat.
Its design is simple. Essentially, a 1,140-pound weight inside of a tube is controlled by a hydraulic motor that lifts the chain, then allows it to freefall on its intended target. The resulting force can demolish concrete at a rate of 20 bpm. With a hit every three seconds, the operator has enough time to maneuver the machine in preparation for the subsequent blow.
"The operator can easily drive around the jobsite," says Odegaard. "He doesn't need to maneuver a breaker point and constantly turn hydraulics on and off."
While the Drop Hammer is typically used as a complement to a hydraulic hammer on the jobsite, it does offer benefits in reduced noise and stress to the carrier. "From an operator and bystander's viewpoint, there's less noise and vibration because the ground absorbs all the energy," Odegaard points out.
Father Greg Staudinger, pastor of St. Matthew's Catholic Church in Sidney, MT, appreciates these benefits, as well as the added advantage of safety during demolition. He explains that a Drop Hammer was purchased about two years ago for maintenance of driveways, parking lots, etc., for five area parishes.
"When you raise and drop the hammer, it breaks the surface without debris flying around," he says. "Safety is a big concern for us. We've used a hydraulic hammer before, and we've broken up concrete with forks mounted to a skid loader, but this Drop Hammer does a much neater job."