Each year in June, TEI Rock Drills takes three days to hold a school for the installation of the popular hollow bars. This year was no exception, as 22 people headed to Montrose, Colo., to teach and learn about this great foundation product.

New for this year, we held the class work at TEI’s warehouse. It was an unexpected bonus – during any presentation, it was possible to stop the discussion and take the entire class outside to look at exhumed piles, a piece of equipment, an existing micropile or whatever the discussion required. Everyone in attendance agreed that this was better than holding the class work at the hotel. TEI will be looking to make this an even better arrangement in the future.

Everyone who wanted to was able to try his hand at installing a hollow bar. Grouting was – as usual – the most difficult part of the operation, but, in the end, we all had a good experience. The class also installed three micropiles that will be used in a lateral test during this fall’s open house.

Not all piles put in the ground during the school used grout. One morning, we tested driving a pile used by Hilti for the installation of solar panels. Not to worry – the TE550 hammer pounded it into the ground in less than 15 seconds. TEI is starting to work with the solar industry, and we were very happy to have a few representatives attend this year’s school.

Courses were taught on load calculations, testing techniques, installation methods and grouting. Instructors included Dan Mclean of Contech Systems, Bill Patterson of TEI Rock Drills, Jeff Tulley of Earth Contact Products. Terry Brunel of Mountain Highwall, and Kyle Vanderburg of Mays Construction – both local contractors – gave case studies on some of their local projects. During one afternoon, the entire class was able to visit one of Brunel’s job sites to watch the installation of some Titan bars in real time.

Of course, the most valuable item that attendees take home is the camaraderie they develop with their fellow contractors during the school. Many friendships and business relationships are made at TEI, and we are proud to help our customers work together at being more profitable.