The Betterground Group designs, manufactures, services and assembles specialized equipment for ground improvement, in particular equipment for Vibro Stone Columns and Vibro Compaction.
Drawing on over 30 years of experience with key international ground improvement projects, our in-house engineering team is able to provide value engineering for our clients’ projects from early stages to completion.
For over 70 years the know-how of deep compaction Vibroflots design has been carried forward in the Degen family, co-founders of Betterground.
Betterground empowers construction companies to build up a sustainable business in the field of ground improvement utilizing the best equipment in the world, competent services and professional expertise, including equipment repairs, online spare part purchasing, site quality control, method optimization and geotechnical design and supervision.
We assist clients on major projects with customized state-of-the-art solutions in accordance with even their most stringent requirements. Our equipment design department can provide project specific solutions for even the most complicated scenarios.
Our shareholders and employees have extensive experience in the field of ground improvement equipment, site methods, supervision and management.
Our flexible business approach enables you to choose any of the following services:
- Equipment rentals and sales
- Area licenses
- Job to job joint ventures
Johann Degen bought the Johann Keller Company in Germany in 1900 and managed its rise from a local well drilling company to a regional market leader, largely expanding into the surrounding countries. After his early death in 1903, his wife, a senior Mr. Keller and Johann Degen’s brother Wilhelm managed the company through hard times until its transition to sons Johannes and Wilhelm in 1920.
Wilhelm L. Degen, the son of Johann Degen, was the co-owner of Johann Keller since 1920 and Managing Director and Chief Engineer of Keller until his death in 1970. He owned numerous patents, including the depth vibrator (vibroflot) for Vibro Compaction (together with Sergej Steuermann), and various pioneering Stone Column related patents.
Vibroflotation in the USA
Sergey Steuermann, co-inventor of the Vibroflot, left Germany and set up later the Vibroflotation Foundation Company, Pittsburgh, PA, pioneering Vibro Compaction in the USA
Invention of the Stone Column
Wilhelm L. Degen invented the Stone Column method.
Purchased Vibroflotation Foundation Company
Johannes Degen and the children of Wilhelm L. Degen sold their shares in the Keller Group of companies after continuous years of expansion. Wilhelm. F. Degen (son of Wilhelm L. Degen) bought the Vibroflotation Foundation Company, Pittsburgh, PA, from Sergey Steuermann.
First High Performance Electrical Vibroflots
Wilhelm F. Degen and Franz Elchkorn developed the first range of high performance electrical Vibroflots, which utilized revolutionary internal design features, giving the new machines unique penetration capacity and allowing them to reach numerous world-depths records in the future. Expansion of the Vibroflotation companies into Germany and Far East .
World record broken
World record on deep vibro compaction by Vibroflotation at Jebba Dam, Nigeria.
A depth of 35 m was reached in natural sand deposits. Reaching such depth in natural deposits is harder than in reclaimed land.
Founding of Vibroflotation AG
Alexander M. Degen and Wilhelm S. Degen set up Vibroflotation AG, an equipment manufacturing company in Switzerland. During this time they also developed the Gravel Pump, the Vibro Stitcher, and the Marine Gravel Pump together with designers Franz Eichkorn and Beda Kälin.
Established in Hong Kong
License agreements between Soletanche S.A. of France and Vibroflotation AG were set up. A joint venture between Vibroflotation AG and Bachy-Soletanche was established in Hong Kong.
New world record depth
43 m depth are reached as a new world record on a trial compaction in Uhyst, Germany. Vibroflotation equipment won a competition with other equipment and was selected as the preferred equipment supplier for huge lignite mine slope stabilizations by vibro compaction.
Record Vibro Compaction volume in Germany
Vibroflotation equipment dominated the Vibro Compaction market in Germany for lignite mining slope stability projects of over 70m in depth, with a total volume of over 1 billion cubic meters.
Sale of interest in Vibroflotation Group
Soletanche Bachy took a 70% share in The Vibroflotation Group and in 2006 took over the company entirely. The relationship ended in a three year non competition undertaking by Wilhelm and Alexander Degen during which both brothers were consulting “The Vibroflotation Group” on numerous international key projects.
Betterground Ltd. (Switzerland) was founded in early 2009 and was immediately joined by the most experienced technical experts in the world.
Betterground supports China Harbour Engineering Co. with low headroom offshore stone column equipment, site supervision and engineering support on the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facility project, which included over one million linear meters of marine Stone Columns. It is the largest project of its kind in history.
First projects in Russia
First projects in Russia. Betterground Bottom Feed equipment compacts the soil near the new football stadium in St. Petersburg. A modified version of the same equipment was able to install the first vibroflot compacted bottom feed sand columns on the Highway St. Petersburg to Moscow.
Expand equipment selling business
Betterground has license and JV agreements in place with geotechnical specialty contractors over 20 countries. Partnerships through performance-based equipment rental or joint ventures now form an important part of Betterground’s business. For this purpose, the selling of equipment has been split off into a separate firm called Betterground Equipment, while the project business remains under the name Betterground.