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ICON’s Slide Rail Systems Offer Versatility for Challenging Excavation Projects

Mon December 17, 2012 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

ICON slide rail systems give contractors versatility and options to help them shore everything from simple pits to elaborate excavations with utility problems, overhead clearance projects or difficult soil conditions.

ICON is known as the original pioneer of this type of shoring system in the United States. The company’s slide rail shoring systems are made of high-yield, Grade 50 steel and are comprised of lineal panels, rails or posts and bracing. This allows contractors to install three or four sided pits and two sided trenches in a variety of excavations and soil conditions. Contractors can choose slide rails in single-, double- or triple-rail designs with either roller rail frames (struts) or fixed-position braces.

Slide rail systems are used for the excavations of sewer lines, water mains, tunnel-access pits or shafts, tank installations, pump or lift stations, wet wells, manholes, junction boxes and many other uses.

ICON’s slide rail system is installed at the same time as a trench or pit is excavated. Installation of the slide rail system starts by excavating the trench to 4 ft. (1.2 m) deep. Next, workers install rails and plates to help square up the system. They continue to dig on the inside of the system to remove the excavated soil as needed. More panels and rails are then incrementally added using the “dig and push” method until the workers reach the required sub-grade.

“The dig-and-push installation method eliminates the need for vibratory hammers and can boost production by more than 50 percent,” said David Crandall, vice president of ICON. “And best of all in these tough times, labor costs will go down by 30 or 40 percent compared to conventional sheeting.

“When it comes time to tight sheet a pit or trench on a deep excavation and you’re in a heavily congested area, slide rail systems make the perfect solution. Installation of the system is accomplished without a vibratory hammer which causes significantly less damage to nearby utilities or buildings. Using a slide rail ssystem instead of wood or driven steel sheeting also gives you more internal working room from wall to wall without the need for inside waler beams.”

Other installation benefits of ICON slide rail system include but are not limited to sheeting and shoring around existing or adjacent utilities. Larger structures or pipes that require an unobstructed pit or access bay for a trench can be easily accomplished by allowing the contractor to remove all cross bracing with a technique called rebracing of the system. For large and extremely deep jobs in excess of 30 ft. (9 m) in C60 soils conditions, contractors can make use of the triple slide rail systems. Environmental remediation projects can be often solved with ICON’s four-way rail system, which allows the contractor to install down the back side of the rail and continue excavating and shoring in all directions without removing the entire system to re-install, according to the manufacturer.

For more information about ICON Equipment, ICON Tunnel Systems and their products, call 800/836-5011 or visit or

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