- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 13 Mar 2017
Breakers, also known as a hammers or hoe rams, are powerful percussion tools used for breaking up concrete or rock. They can be fitted to excavators and are powered by auxiliary hydraulic systems. They are similar in function and operation to hand-held pneumatic drills.
Breakers are typically used in application such as:
- The demolition of buildings.
- Breaking up pavements or roads.
- Trenching in rock.
- Breaking frozen ground
- Secondary reduction of blasted material.
There are two basic designs for mounted breakers – side-plate and boxed:
- Side-plate breakers have two slabs of steel secured to either side of the breaker mechanism. This arrangement usually leaves the breaker’s front and back open.
- Boxed breakers enclose the breaker mechanism in an outer casing, which acts as a shock-absorbing barrier. This has the advantage of providing more protection from debris. They also tend to be quieter, and there is a reduction in shock and vibration.
Breakers can also be categorised based on the piston-firing system that they use. The three basic types are:
The working tool should be sufficiently lubricated, and cleaned from abrasive dust that can get into the lower portion of the breaker. Some breaker models are fitted with automatic lubrication systems, or a sealing system can be installed if required.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
A quick introduction to a very complicated subject.
CIOB suggests the economic reach of construction is double the official figures.
The first US building to achieve BREEAM Outstanding In-Use.
70 buildings from 70 years of Concrete Quarterly. Book review.
Conserving the iron roof at the Albert Dock.
Delivering an infrastructure revolution.
The admissibility of evidence.
How many can you name? 37 anyone?
CIOB respond to the points-based system.
When is the weather considered 'exceptionally adverse'?
ECA backs call for a rolling programme of rail electrification.