ICUEE 2017 Outdoors

ICUEE 2017 Day One Highlights

ICUEE 2017 keynote

Desiree (Desi) Matel-Anderson; former Chief Innovation Advisor at FEMA, delivers “Disasters Taskforce: Preparing for What’s Next” the featured keynote at ICUEE 2017.

ICUEE 2017 Barbco Demo Stage

Tony Barbera discusses the Flexbor system at the Demo Stage presented by Benjamin Media.

ICUEE 2017 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, got off to a fantastic start Tuesday, with the warm temperatures and sunny skies driving attendees outside to take in the construction equipment on display and being demoed.

Those who didn’t make it outside enjoyed a busy day at the Benjamin Media Demo Stage. More presentations are on tap today, including an HDD Panel in the afternoon.

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Follow this link to check the Demo Stage schedule. 

The Demo Stage is also home to the ICUEE Benefit Auction. Proceeds from the auction go to the Call of Duty Endowment. Read more about the auction and check out the items at the link below.

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Bidding Open for the ICUEE 2017 Benefit Auction for Call of Duty Endowment

Trenchless Technology managing editor Sharon M. Bueno made several stops outside, learning about the latest in HDD equipment, as well as vacuum excavation systems.

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Scroll for our highlights.


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First stop was at the Vermeer booth and a video interview with Vermeer CEO and president Jason Andringa. Andringa touched on what Vermeer is unveiling at ICUEE, as well as his perspective on the state of HDD industry, as well as what is on the horizon for the company, including the company’s recent acquisition of longtime partner Mclaughlin.

Vermeer D40x55DR S3

The Vermeer D40x55DR S3 Navigator HDD draws a crowd on Day One.

At the show, Vermeer unveiled its newest additions to its HDD drill fleet. First is the D40x55DR S3 Navigator drill delivers excellent productivity in broad range ground conditions, from hard, medium and soft rock to loamy/dirt and clay. This new rock drill features Vermeer dual rod technology that uses an inner rod to provide torque to the drill bit, while the outer rod offers steering capability and rotation torque for reaming. The combination provides powerful downhole cutting action and the flexibility to select the appropriate tooling to best match the ground conditions.

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“Dual rod drilling rigs are much easier to use than other rock drilling solutions and provide more versatility when a contractor is drilling soil conditions that vary significantly throughout the bore path,” said Tod Michael, product manager of trenchless products at Vermeer. “With the D40x55DR S3 horizontal directional drill, we’ve incorporated the dependability and performance of our popular D40x55 S3 Navigator horizontal directional drill with the latest advancements in dual rod technology to create a familiar operator experience that will outperform many other rock drilling solutions.”

Using a new dual drill rod design that simply and quickly makes up the inner and outer rod connections, the time and steps required to add or remove a rod on the D40x55DR S3 is cut by 30 percent compared to previous Vermeer models. A hollow inner rod design results in more air and drilling fluid flow to the drill head on pilot bores and the hole opener during pullback. The minimal restriction means contractors have more tooling options ranging from rotary, drag cutting and roller cone bits to an air hammer, as well as the ability to pull larger hole openers.

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Powered by a 140-hp John Deere diesel engine, the Vermeer D40x55DR S3 serves up 40,000 lbs of thrust/pullback and 5,500 ft-lbs of rotational torque. It can carry 500 ft of drill rods onboard. Also, with a carriage speed of 115 fpm (35 mpm), low guaranteed sound power rating of 104 dBA and similar controls and components to other Vermeer horizontal directional drills, the D40x55DR S3 shares the qualities the Vermeer S3 drill lineup is known for.

“From developing the steerable air hammer technology to this latest addition to the Navigator HDD product line, Vermeer has been helping develop rock solutions for decades,” added Michael. “We offer a wide range of rock tooling solutions and have also formed partner alliances with several of the industry’s leading rock tooling and support equipment manufacturers to give our customers the best options for their individual needs.

Vermeer D8x12 HDD ICUEE 2017

Vermeer D8x12 HDD

Vermeer also expands its line of utility installation equipment with the launch of the D8x12 Navigator drill. This new compact and highly productive drill is sized for working in tight spaces, features straightforward controls and delivers quiet operation. With two drill rod options for added versatility, the Vermeer D8x12 is well suited for small service installations, including gas distribution, power, water and telecommunication networks.

“From fiber-to-the-home projects to residential utility upgrades, there is a growing demand for compact horizontal directional drills that can easily access residential backyards, are lightweight to help reduce turf damage and quiet to minimize neighbor disturbances,” explained Tod Michael, product manager of trenchless products at Vermeer. “With the D8x12, we were able to exceed contractors’ expectations in all of those areas and more. It’s an affordable service-oriented machine that is over 29 percent more powerful than similarly sized drills on the market today.”

Vermeer Mud Hub ICUEE 2017

The Vermeer Mud Hub developed in conjunction with Surface to Surface.

The Vermeer D8x12 horizontal directional drill is equipped with a 48-hp Kohler diesel engine and offers 1,000 ft-lbs of spindle torque and 7,850 lbs of thrust/pullback. It features basic hydraulic pilot joystick controls with only essential electrical components, simplifying operation and routine maintenance.

Vermeer also showed off its MudHub system, which it developed in partnership with Surface to Surface. This system was created to help contractors with the expensive task of disposing of its drilling fluid. This machine features a range of possible feed and dosage rates to solidify drilling fluid or hydro-excavation slurry. The FL-243 solidifies slurries into a dry, stackable solid to allow contractors convenient transport and disposal.


McLaughlin ICUEE 2017

McLaughlin Mfg.

Next stop was the McLaughlin booth, meeting with vice president Jeff Wage and recent addition Jake Jeffords. McLaughlin has introduced two new mid-range vacuum excavators to the underground utility contractor market — the ECO75 truck-mounted vacuum excavator and the VX75 trailer-mounted vacuum excavator — to answer the market’s demand for a compact vacuum excavation system with a 5-in. boom option that focuses on performance and improved fuel efficiency.

A 74-hp Deutz Final Tier 4 diesel engine powers a 1,200 high CFM vacuum blower and an 8.0-gpm water pump capable of 3,000 psi operating pressure, making these excavators an ideal choice for compact jobsites, production potholing, setting power poles or fluid management in directional drilling operations. The vacuum excavators also feature a larger 5-in. Boom that pulls more material and reduces clogging to enhance jobsite production.

“McLaughlin is filling a gap in the mid-range vacuum excavator market with the ECO75 and VX75 product introductions,” said Wage. “The ability to choose 500-, 800- or 1,200-gallon spoil tank capacities matched with the higher 1,200 CFM blower and choose the larger 5-in. Boom option allows contractors to customize the ECO75 and VX75 to meet their business needs and increase productivity.”

The ECO75-800 can be mounted on a single axle,16-ft truck bed with a GVW rating of 33,000 lbs, allowing contractors to keep their vacuum operations compact and maneuverable. Contractors can mount the ECO75-500 on a single axle 26,000 GVW truck without the need for a commercial driver’s license. The truck-mounted option also gives contractors the flexibility to tow additional equipment to jobsites. For contractors who prefer a trailer-mounted vacuum excavator, the VX75 features a twin axle and heavy duty I-Beam construction that is compact in size and can be pulled by a 1-ton truck.

McLaughlin also offers additional versatility with the ECO75 and VX75 Series — contractors have the option of adding a sewer jetter or air compressor to their vacuum excavator.

The ECO75 truck-mounted vacuum excavator also offers utility contractors better fuel economy and lower operating costs. By utilizing a 74-hp Deutz auxiliary engine to power the vacuum excavator, contractors will see reduced fuel consumption compared to running the vacuum excavator off a 270-hp PTO-driven truck engine.

Both the ECO75 and VX75 include two features McLaughlin customers have come to rely on. One is an industry-exclusive three-stage cyclonic filtration system that allows for both wet and dry vacuum excavation while prolonging filter life and helping to keep maintenance costs low. The other is the McLaughlin patented cam-over hydraulic rear door. It provides a 360-degree positive seal, even under reverse pressure, without additional clamping requirements to keep fluids securely in the debris tank. No components are inside the tank, so maintenance is external.


Ditch Witch

Ditch Witch unveiled its newest addition to its drill fleet at ICUEE and Ditch Witch senior product manager for horizontal directional drills gave us an introduction. To enhance utility contractors’ efficiency while drilling and steering in hard rock, Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, has released the new AT40 All Terrain horizontal directional drill (HDD). The machine features an advanced, two-pipe All Terrain drilling system that provides 33 percent more torque than competitive units.

The newly optimized All Terrain drilling system includes multiple patent-pending designs that improve downhole operation. An inner-rod design provides a flush system that improves tool-joint durability and steering in hard rock conditions. To further improve steering and optimize fluid flow, a reliable All Terrain connection reduces the risk of collar damage.

“Maximized drilling performance and more efficient control while steering make the AT40 All Terrain an industry-leading, reliable and powerful machine,” said Matthesen. “The unit not only boosts productivity and power, but leverages next-generation features to provide valuable operational insights and keep operators productive, profitable, and comfortable on each job.”

Ditch Witch AT40 ICUEE 2017

Trenchless Technology managing editor Sharon Bueno and Seth Matthesen, Ditch Witch senior product manager for horizontal directional drills with the all-new AT40.

The All Terrain system also features an enhanced reliable RockMaster housing for improved longevity and reduced maintenance. The modular design makes the housing adaptable to two different sizes of drill bit, allowing a 2.875 and 3.5 regular api connection. And, a patented floating-spindle design makes it easier and more cost-effective to replace. The new housing also features an industry-exclusive, double-layer seal with high-capacity bearings for increased downhole life, superior reliability and minimal maintenance. This design feature increases service time intervals – time intervals are doubled compared to previous models.

The AT40 All Terrain directional drill is available with durable pipe options to meet all unique jobsites, including the patent-pending All Terrain Flush, Power Pipe HD Fluid Miser II, Power Pipe HD Unlined and Forged HIWS1 pipes.

Further enhancing productivity and providing best-in-class power, the new All Terrain drill leverages the same next-generation features of the standard JT40 model. A 160-gross-hp, Tier 4 Cummins diesel engine offers 40,000 lbs of thrust and pullback. Improved drilling efficiency is provided by a two-speed, rotational drive system that produces 5,500 ft-lb of torque. The drill is also equipped with a 70-gpm, 1,100-psi mud pump to increase fluid flow from the pump to the swivel.


ring-o-matic ICUEE 2017


(INSERT RING-O-MATIC PHOTO) Sharon popped into the Ring-O-Matic booth and company president Brian Metcalfe introduced her to its newest vacuum excavator: its largest-capacity PTO-driven vacuum-excavator system. The 1300 VXT Extreme/PTO is the ideal vacuum-excavator solution for utility construction, horizontal directional drilling support and mud management, vacuum excavation and daylighting operations preferring a single-engine configuration.

The mechanical PTO option offers the benefits of single-engine emissions compliance and single-engine maintenance and a shorter chassis rig with 1,300-gallon spoil capacity.

A wide array of Ring-O-Matic options makes it possible to custom-order the 1300 VXT to match any operation’s requirements. The standard unit comes mounted on a double-axle, 60,000-pound Freightliner carrier featuring a 1700 cfm blower and a 6-in., fully hydraulic boom.

Ring-O-Matic also displayed its 350 VXT HiCFM Air-Equipped and compact FT150 vac-ex units at the ICUEE exposition. Designed for carriers in the 26,000-lb GVW class or smaller, the 350 VXT is based on the traditional dedicated-engine design suited to most operations.

With its 150-gallon spoils tank, the FT150 gives rental agencies and startup contractors an economical, versatile hydro-excavator to use on jobsites too small for typical vac-ex rigs such as the tight confines of many urban residential properties. The FT150 mounts easily in the bed of a pickup or on a trailer. It can also be mounted to a skid-steer via an attachment plate. All three configurations were on display during ICUEE.


Vactor HXX Concept

Ben Scmitt and the Vactor HXX Concept

Vactor Mfg.

One of the last stops of the day was the Vactor booth where Sharon met with product manager Ben Schmitt, who filled us in on its successor to the legendary Vactor HXX vacuum excavator. ICUEE marks the concept vacuum excavation truck first public appearance.

“The new HXX concept showcases our latest design thinking in terms of improvements in payload capacity, weight distribution, operation and performance,” said Schmitt. “Our goal in previewing this HXX concept at ICUEE is to gain feedback from customers and other industry professionals before launching the next generation of this truck.”

The HXX concept maximizes legal payload for customers and improves operational efficiency. “Maximizing productivity while adhering to strict weight regulations is a constant challenge for vacuum excavation users,” Schmitt said. “Weight enforcement is an important issue within the industry, as overweight fines can be significant.”

The placement of the debris body and water tank on the concept’s chassis ensures equal distribution of the payload on the axles, regardless of how much water is in the tanks. This design is an improvement over previous vacuum excavators configured with sloped floors in uni-body designs where weight shifts as water is used and debris is loaded, often resulting in lost payload capacity. Each component of the HXX concept truck was purposely placed to ensure the entire chassis gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is used.

A new PrecisionFlow water pump system on the HXX concept features a single-piston design, which is capable of higher flow and pressures than a triplex water pump system for superior production and reliability. “This new water pump system features half the moving parts of a traditional hydroexcavation water pump, eliminating more expensive and less reliable pressure regulating mechanisms or unloading valves and enabling quick and easy servicing in the field,” Schmitt said.

The HXX concept features Vactor’s Park-N-Dig quick operation design, which reduces set-up and tear-down time between jobs. In addition, the concept features a seven-inch display featuring real-time operational and performance information feedback to allow the operator to maximize productivity. The HXX concept also features Vactor’s Bluetooth service connectivity tool and on-screen diagnostics for quick and easy field troubleshooting if necessary.

“Everything about the HXX concept truck was designed with operator safety, product reliability, productivity and serviceability in mind,” Schmitt said.


Jobsite Juniors

Jobsite Juniors

ICUEE 2017 marked the official launch of Jobsite Juniors, the newest edition to the Benjamin Media roster of publications. Jobsite Juniors also marks our publisher’s first foray into a magazine dedicated to children.

Jobsite Juniors is a bi-monthly magazine designed to get kids excited about construction, while teaching them all about the machines and people that make up the industry. Departments such as Equipment Explained, Meet the Crew, Project Spotlight and On the Go! help make construction accessible to young readers while keeping it enjoyable and interesting. Activities like hidden pictures, word searches and coloring pages (just to name a few) add even more opportunities for construction fun.

Visit to learn more and purchase a subscription to Jobsite Juniors for the pint-sized contractor in your life. Subscribe before Nov. 1 and you’ll receive the November issue with the Holiday Guide plus all six issues in 2018.


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