SSAB's Steel Pile Day was organized for the 14th time on January 21, 2021. Unlike in previous years, the Steel Pile Day was organized as an online event for the first time due to the exceptional circumstances. 210 foundation construction experts attended the event to hear about the current topics in the industry. 

The online event was broadcasted from the Hämeenlinna culture and congress center at Verkatehdas, where the event was live-streamed in studio conditions. Due to the restrictions brought by Covid-19, only the presenter, the director and the message board moderator as well as each speaker on their turn were in the studio.

The opening speech was given by those responsible for steel pile sales in Finland, Hannu Jokiniemi and Mikael Lammassaari. In their presentation, they talked about the benefits of a new type of RDW pile wall and about the first project. The RDW pile wall has been developed for challenging conditions to replace traditional solutions. 

Hannu Jokiniemi, SSAB

SSAB's steel pile manufacturing began with large diameter driven steel piles nearly 40 years ago. Identifying customer needs and collaborating closely with the operators in the industry have always been the foundation for developing steel piles. The annual organization of the Steel Pile Day for stakeholders is an essential and significant part of collaboration.

One important benefit of the Steel Pile Day is networking. This year, this important section played a smaller role. The audience had the opportunity to send messages and questions to speakers via the message board, and plenty were received during the day. These questions were discussed after each presentation and during the closing speech.

Examples of projects

In 2020, there was, by Finnish standards, a unique project underway in Tampere. SSAB's steel piles were the base for this project, as an old goods depot in Tampere was moved using them. The project was managed by Kreate Oy, and the piling contractor was Kankareen Paalutus Oy. This project was presented by Kreate Oy Head of Design Tommi Hakanen and Kankareen Paalutus Oy Managing Director Hannu Vesamäki. Tommi Hakanen said that an online event like this was first of its kind for him. He, along with other speakers, accepted the challenge to speak in front of a camera, even if it is often considered more challenging than speaking in front of a live audience. Both Tommi Hakanen and Hannu Vesamäki have participated in the Steel Pile Day events several times before. 

Tommi Hakanen, Kreate Oy

Hannu Vesamäki, Kankareen Paalutus Oy

Roope Korpela and Turkka Luotonen, GRK Infra Oy, as well as Sitowise Oy Structural engineer Ristomatti Helin spoke together about the supporting wall structures and pile slabs in the northern part of a new residential area in Verkkosaari, Helsinki.  The pile delivery to the site was the largest in SSAB's history. In demanding conditions, foundation construction costs are significant, and optimizing the structures is extremely important. Turkka and Ristomatti participated in the Steel Pile Day for the first time, but Roope had participated in the event once before. In their experience, speaking in front of a live audience is more relaxed. "In front of a live audience you can get to the same level with the audience when you see how they react to what they hear. This was new and different, something that was nice to experience", says Turkka Luotonen, the supervisor responsible for GRK Infra's large diameter piles.

Roope Korpela (left) and Turkka Luotonen, GRK Infra Oy, as well as Ristomatti Helin, Sitowise Oy

New products were presented during the day by Antti Perälä from SSAB's technical support. For example, Antti talked about SSAB's new pile size that can help to significantly reduce emissions. By using this new pile size, we aim to create more economical and sustainable solutions considering both the environmental impact and the structure. Antti also presented the latest updates to SSAB's RRPileCalc and PileWallCalc calculation software. In his presentation, Antti also mentioned webinars organized by SSAB on these software. Webinars can be watched in SSAB's webinar library: webinar-center

Sondre Smeland, who represented SSAB's technical support for steel pile and infrastructure products in Norway, spoke via video transmission about a piling project completed in Norway. The thickness of the clay bed on the site was as much as 80 meters. Steel piles RDT270 and RDT320 were used in the project. RD piles with mechanical splices enable competitiveness in these conditions, as the installation work is quicker compared to the use of splice welding.  

NollaE CEO Nikolas Salomaa talked about an opportunity to utilize steel piles for heat and cold recovery. Steel piles are then used for utilizing ground heat, and thus we can skip the costly drilling of a bore well. Nikolas Salomaa said that he was participating in the Steel Pile Day for the first time. He has previously spoken at several webinars, and he praised the professional organization of the Steel Pile Day online event.

Nikolas Salomaa, NollaE Oy

SSAB's Steel Pile Day is a familiar event to Veli-Matti Uotinen, a Geotechnics expert at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. Over the years, Veli-Matti has often been a speaker at the event. At this event, Veli-Matti told us about the qualification requirements for piling rig operators. Previously, one learned while working in this sector without any qualification requirements, but this is now changing. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, together with other actors  in the industry, wants to improve the operations and have the piling rig operators certified to ensure quality and safety. 

Veli-Matti Uotinen, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency

Jukka Salminen, AFRY Finland Oy, gave the final presentation of the day via a remote connection. In his speech, he drilled deep into the bedrock and spoke about the significance of bedrock in the design of drilled piles.

Jukka Salminen, AFRY Oy 

Hannu Jokiniemi, SSAB, concluded the event by thanking the speakers for their interesting presentations and the audience for attending the online event. 

"By sharing knowledge we strengthen our expertise and promote collaboration in foundation construction. SSAB's Steel Pile Day has established its place as the industry's number one event, and we are happy to receive suggestions for topics for next year's Steel Pile Day", says Hannu Jokiniemi.