What is a suction/vacuum excavator?

A suction/vacuum excavator can be referred to by various names... Vac-Ex, Suc-Ex, Vacuum-Ex, as well as Hydro Vac, and Aqua Vac but in all cases, the method of excavation remain the same.

A suction/vacuum excavator is a construction vehicle (Vac Truck) that removes debris below or above ground, via powerful suction of high volume air flow, through a wide suction pipe which is up to a foot in diameter. This allows material to be excavated safely and effectively with low risk. Suction/vacuum excavation can be used for excavation of contaminated ground, water treatment, materials buried around utilities or services (railway lines, sub stations, gas, electric, water, fiber-optics, telecoms) and vacuum extraction for event clearance.

Suction/vacuum excavation is considered best practice for safely finding and seeing underground utilities, reducing damage by half to buried utilities.

How suction/vacuum excavation works...

Operators are equipped with a vast amount of air tooling tools to assist the movement of materials from around buried utilities and pipe lines.

The suction/vacuum excavator generates a high volume flow of air by means of its twin or triple air fans. The end of the tube may be toothed to help cut earth when used for excavating, but not when used to vacuum up loose debris and litter. The air flow vacuums the ground material into the vacuum excavator and this debris is deposited into the main storage vac tank.

Tools including a compressed-air lance or powerful water jet may be used to assist in breaking the ground free to allow the air flow to catch the material and then remove it into the vacuum excavator.

Possible applications

  • Safe excavation around buried pipelines and cable netwroks.
  • Emergency repair service for all pipeline and utilities network.
  • Rail track maintenance or repair on line or trackside.
  • Deep Excavation and confined spaces.
  • Culvert clearing
  • Water treatment filter bed clearance
  • Sewer clearence
  • Contaminated ground clearance
  • Clearing around tree roots
  • Basement work
  • Industrial application e.g In refineries, electric sub-stations, chemical plants.
  • Long distance work can be catered for up to approximately 50 meters. Vertically or 150 meters plus horizontally (depending on conditions).
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  • Reduces risk to digging teams
  • Reduces cable strikes and damage
  • Avoids costly strikes and penalties
  • No grab support
  • Reduction in excavation size
  • Reduction in excavation reinstatement costs
  • Reduces environmental damage
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