SheetMaster is described as a three-in-one trench sheet handling tool and connects to an excavator boom via a standard quick-hitch coupler.
It comprises a pair of slotted legs that engage over the top of the sheet. A spring-loaded pin on the upper leg engages with the shackle-hole in the sheet to hold it in place.
With the sheet secured in the SheetMaster, the operator then lifts it to vertical and, using the excavator’s hydraulic controls, pitches the sheet ready for driving.
“Because the sheet is held firmly in the SheetMaster device, it is more easily controlled by the driver and won’t sway about in the breeze, unlike a sheet suspended from traditional shackles,” said Groundforce Shorco technical director Tony Gould.
“Normally, the banksman or someone else would need to manually steady the sheet to position it. With the SheetMaster, there’s no need for anybody to go near the suspended sheet during this safety critical operation, so it’s much safer.”
Once the sheet has been toed-in by the excavator, the spring loaded pin is released by pulling on a lanyard which then allows about 300mm of vertical movement, allowing the SheetMaster to be used as a hammer to drive the sheet to depth or refusal.
“This means you don’t need to fit a driving cap to prevent damage to the top of the sheet,” Tony Gould said.
SheetMaster is also used for extracting driven sheets.
Groundforce Shorco has been demonstrating the SheetMaster to contractors. Gallagher Group site manager Mike Parker was among those to be impressed. He said: “We think this is definitely a step forward in site safety and working at heights. As you would expect it took our guys a bit of getting used to at first, but once they were familiar with how it worked they all agreed that it will further improve site safety.”