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When is an excavator not an excavator? When it’s an all-terrain, pile-driving platform, of course!

Lattey Group CEO Mark Donnelly originally conceived the idea of modifying the mechanics and hydraulics of an excavator to drive screw piles and augurs. 

It was a stroke of ingenuity that involved modifying the excavator rig and pairing it with a suitably adapted hydraulic motor. Over the years, Lattey Group has collected a range of mobile platforms and associated motors - pretty much like a giant power drill on caterpillar tracks!

This required some innovative modifications to the excavator’s hydraulics to power the drive units. The drive units themselves are hydraulic motors imported from the USA and modified with bespoke attachments in our workshop in Hastings.


Further modifications are sometimes required on a project-by-project basis. For example, when space was at a premium for a sensitive earthquake strengthening project below a building of historical significance in Wellington. The excavator boom was filled with lead to generate sufficient downward pressure for the screw pile driving.

While extremely useful, the hydraulic drive motors are fairly high maintenance. Oil samples are taken after every 50 hours run time and checked for metal contamination. If metal is found, it’s a sign that the motor may require an overhaul.


The company’s plant includes a 48 ton, 36 ton, two 23 ton and two 20 ton excavators. Our smallest is a 6.5 ton Hitachi and the newest is a 14 ton Hydromech excavator. The Geax EK45 and Soilmec SR40 add versatility to the fleet with their specialist drilling capabilities.



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