A focus on safe digging, coupled with an increased need for more underground facilities, has led to a sharp increase in the number of vacuum excavation machines on the road across North America. Today, vacuum excavation units are seen on construction jobsites on a daily basis.

What was once an oilfield-centric industry, vacuum excavation has quickly blossomed into all sectors of construction, from HDD slurry clean-up, to utility locating, potholing, slot trenching and more. On the following pages you will find some of the latest offerings, from some of the top manufacturers, in this ever-growing industry.

Ditch Witch

The enhanced lineup of Ditch Witch vacuum excavators boosts operator productivity and versatility on municipality and underground construction jobs. The models feature innovative and patent-pending designs that meet the diverse and evolving customer needs on a wide range of applications – from compact, urban projects to large-scale excavation, potholing, slot trenching and microtrenching projects. The new line includes three models – the HX30, HX50 and HX75 – each with outstanding suction and water pressure. The machines feature a cyclonic three-stage filtration system, offering the industry’s best filtration and maximum protection of key components. The low-profile design allows for easy navigation on any jobsite, without compromising ground clearance. Tank options include a choice of a 500- or 800-gal debris tank to meet the requirements of any sized cleanup. And each model is available in a light or heavy package with various freshwater tank sizes and trailer weights depending on jobsite needs.

McLaughlin Mfg.

The Vermeer MEGA VAC VXT PTO truck series by McLaughlin is a highly productive vacuum excavator ideal for utility and distribution contractors. The new 6-in., PTO-driven series comes in three standard spoil capacities ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 gallons. The VXT series is powered by the industry-proven OMSI Gearbox and a ROOTS 3,200 CFM blower. A CAN Remote Control system allows for two-way communication between the remote control and the vacuum excavator, helping contractors increase jobsite productivity. The Vermeer MEGA VAC VTX series by McLaughlin is available through Vermeer global dealer network.

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Ox Equipment Inc.

Ox Equipment Inc. is the exclusive North American distributor for industry leading MTS GmbH Dry Suction Vacuum Excavators. Currently, the industry standard for safe excavation technologies throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, dry suction excavation powerfully excavates without the use of water, and thus eliminates issues related to slurry disposal, as well as overweight loads. The Dino Suction Excavator utilizes a proprietary twin fan system which generates over 24,000 CFM of suction power. The large 10-in. diameter suction hose, which is precisely manipulated via a fully mechanical Power Arm, deploys off the rear of the unit for increased versatility. Functional side-tipping allows for fast, efficient and easy dumping from the 10.5 cubic yard spoils container, either directly on-site or into roll-off bills, allowing the unit to stay onsite all day effectively doubling productivity.

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RAMVAC

With large capacity and great features, one of the most popular of the RAMVAC family, the HX-12, brings all of the great RAMVAC advantages to you in a conventionally sized vacuum excavator. The HX-12 features a 12-yard debris tank for when you can’t leave a big job to unload material. The RAMVAC HX-12 features the industry’s only temperature controlled environmental chamber containing the truck’s water system and a directional discharge system, so you can off load your debris back into the excavation site when you are done – without the mess of dumping your tank. Other great features you will find includes a long range wireless remote, NEMA 4 electrical system, a 400,000 BTU water heater, and a 3-stage cyclonic filtration system. The standard 4,400 CFM blower will match the performance of larger blower machines while delivering class leading fuel economy.

Ring-O-Matic

The Ring-O-Matic 550 HiCFM VacEx Hydroexcavator comes standard with a 50 hp CAT diesel engine and 1,000 cfm, Positive Displacement blower for durability, dependability and longevity of service. The patented VIPER pothole tool attachment can dig a 3-ft hole in 30 seconds, making it the first choice among contractors looking to locate underground utilities quickly and safely. A dielectric option enhances operator safety during utility exposure or daylighting activities. Ring-O-Matic hydroexcavation equipment with proven performance is available in trailer-, truck- and skid-mount options and can be customized to the owner’s unique requirements.

Rival Hydrovac

The Rival T7 Hydrovac is a road legal, cost-effective unit, engineered to work primarily in urban settings. The Rival has become a popular choice for contractors who need high production in populated areas but need to remain street legal. The truck is built on a Western Star tandem chassis with Cummins power, Allison automatic transmissions and full locking differentials. The truck has a 7-cubic yard debris body and 800 gallons of fresh water storage. With hoist and “Pressure off” offloading capabilities, the Rival can pressure loads into other vessels, vehicles or tanks in minutes. The RaptorLock dump door system to allow the door to hold a seal under vacuum or pressure without the use of manual wing nuts. The Robuschi Robox enclosed blower system ensures quiet operation, 2,650 CFM and Full vacuum. The Rival has a 12 Volt boiler system, 14 GPM water system and full winterization features. The truck has a full rotation 6-in. boom, extendable to 20 ft and an Aarcomm remote system controls boom, water, vacuum and displays real time truck weight.

RELATED: Contractor Profile: I-Dig Hydro-Vac Services

Super Products

Specifically designed for optimal performance in oil field, mining and cold weather environments, the Mud Dog 1600 hydro excavator features a 16-yard debris body, 2,000-gallon water tank setup and rear-mounted boom that in addition to offering 335-degree rotation can pivot down 25 degrees for 8 ft of extra digging and access to hard-to-reach areas. The 1600 offers water pressures up to 18GPM at 3,000 PSI in combination with its 8-in. positive displacement vacuum system that provides air flow of 5,800 cfm/28 Hg. An onboard boiler heats up the high-pressure water to break up frozen, stubborn material and flush out tight spaces efficiently. Winter recirculation, anti-freeze and air purge systems ensure the unit performs optimally in even the harshest of climates. And its aluminum cabinet, heated by dual 714,000 Btu/Hr heaters, provides easier access and increased storage capacity. For fast, thorough and safe debris removal, the 1600 uses Super Products’ unique ejection unloading technology. And its tilt-unloading feature ensures that liquids in the debris tank are cleared quickly and efficiently even when unloading in an up-slope/nose down position.

Supervac

At 31.5 ft, the Atlas hydro excavator trailer from Supervac offers the compact versatility of a regular vacuum truck, with a high payload capacity of 49,400 lbs. Its six side-mounted and evenly distributed plastic water tanks (three on each side) have a total capacity of 1,500 gallons. The unit’s top-loading boom offers 320-degree rotation, extension of 25 ft, an 8-in. flex hose, top access door, and protection elbow. The debris tank has a 20-in. manhole for access and cleaning, a primary shutoff valve, 14-. stainless steel floatball, a 6-in. vacuum relief valve, carbon steel cyclone and dropbox. A fully insulated enclosure houses a Webasto diesel heater for work in cold climates. The unit’s Pratissoli water pump offers 20 gpm capacity at 3,000 psi. The unit comes equipped with hose reel with a capacity of 100 ft of hose, with a gun/lance system and 12-volt recirculation pump. Its Dynablast boiler offers 680,000 Btu, while its heavy-duty Robuschi blower offers 3,800 cfm at 27 in. Hg with hydrostatic drive.

Vacall

Vacall AllExcavate models provide superior water pressure and vacuum forces to efficiently excavate around water lines, sewer lines and other underground utilities. For optimum operating efficiency and cost control, the AllExcavate design uses one engine to power the chassis and also provide power for vacuum and jetting functions – a design that slashes fuel consumption, eliminates emissions from a second engine and reduces costs and downtime for routine maintenance. Features include high-quality aluminum water tanks and galvanized steel debris tanks with lifetime warranty; AllSmartFlow intelligent control system for more precise adjustments in boom movement; and double-cyclone filtration with simplified design to reduce maintenance, extend performance and increase working life.

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Vac-Con

Vac-Con was established in 1986 with the mission to fill a demand in the industrial vacuum industry. Over 32 years, 340 employees, and 8,000 machines later, Vac-Con is one of the top manufacturers in the industry and poised to gain more of the market share. The first hydro-excavation machines manufactured by Vac-Con were designed in the early 1990s. As environmental and safety regulations have tightened over the past few decades, Vac-Con strategized its portfolio to fill the demand for more precise and safer methods to dig. The current Vac-Con excavation machine models feature simple, easily operable upgrades that provide powerful and precise performance. The hydro-excavation machine strategy at Vac- directly related to the increasing demand for these machines. The X-Cavator and XX-Cavator wet/dry machines are customizable to user’s requirements, and are among the best, most durable machines on the market.

Vacmasters

The SYSTEM 5000 has the ability to trench and pothole! All the components, including the 300 CFM/220 psi compressor, and the 1,400 CFM Positive Displacement Blower are all powered by a single, enclosed John Deere 173-hp turbo diesel engine for quiet, dependable operation. Features include a self-purging filtration system, remote operation up to 200 ft away, fast-acting interceptor canister, full-opening rear door, enclosed power-head and low-maintenance design. The SYSTEM 5000’s ability to use air rather than water when trenching and potholing means the job gets done faster, more efficiently, more economically and much more safely.

Vactor Mfg.

Available from Vactor Mfg., the Vactor Paradigm vacuum excavator is designed for utility, municipal and contractor customers involved in the installation, maintenance and repair of underground water, sewer, gas, electric and telecommunications lines. This compact, multi-use truck can dig holes with water or air; vacuum, contain and dispose of drill mud; power pneumatic, hydraulic or electrical tools; and provide transport and storage of replacement parts, equipment and tools. The truck’s trademarked “Park-n-Dig” design minimizes the time between arriving on the job site and excavation, including the ability to dig up to six feet in depth without additional pipe and hose. The air compressor, which is standard on the Paradigm, is able to power utility tools such as jackhammers and tampers that may be used on the job. The truck features substantial storage space for these tools, including a long-handle tool box. The truck can also tow up to 20,000 lbs.

Vac-Tron

The Vac-Tron Low Profile XDT unit is powered by a 24 hp Kohler diesel engine and comes standard with 500 to 1200-gallon debris tank, 100 to 400-gallon water tanks capacities with 3,500 psi at 4 gpm, hydraulic rear door, the patented (Big Red) CVS filtration system that is unmatched by our competitors, a reverse pressure system and a heavy-duty I-beam trailer with Dexter torsion axles. Hand built in the United States from the ground up including the durable trailer assembly, the low-profile trailer keeps the components of the unit easily accessible while making the unit safe to tow and a much smoother ride. This unit also offers the new six-way hydraulic boom design or optional strong arm to maximize job performance by supporting the weight of the vacuum hose. Vac-Tron Equipment, the industry innovation leader in industrial vacuum and vacuum excavation equipment.

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Westech

The Westech Wolf non-code certified hydrovac truck is ideal for oil and gas customers working in extreme conditions. The debris body is positioned on the optimal spot of the chassis to ensure the payload is proportionately distributed across all axles simultaneously, maximizing legal payload for customers and improving operational efficiency. The side-mounted water tanks reduce the weight by more than 40 percent, lowering the overall cost of the truck. The 1,500-gallon capacity ensures ample water storage capacity for large or remote jobs. A top-mounted “no-touch” water fill system is easily accessible from the passenger side of the vehicle. The debris body is lifted using a telescoping, dual-acting hydraulic cylinder capable of 36,000 lbs of force. When fully extended, the debris body exceeds a 45-degree dump angle for fast and efficient offloading. To help the offloading process, a heavy-duty, hydraulically powered tank vibrator is mounted to the belly of the debris body. A standard splash shield has been fitted to the rear of the unit to direct the offloading debris.

Mike Kezdi is associate editor of Trenchless Technology.

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