Vacuum Excavation – what’s that I hear you say?

Basically, it does what it says!  It is also called A Safe Dig Approach to Excavation.

A Vacuum Excavator uses fans generating a large volume of air to remove earth, gravel, dirt etc safely to expose utilities pipes, telephone wires, and fibre cables without the need for mechanical diggers or digging by hand.  Contractors usually hire the likes of ADP Group and similar. By using the vacuum excavator, it is safer than a mechanical digger – how many times have you heard that a digger has gone through a power line or gas pipe? That won’t happen if you use a vacuum excavator.

The air flows through the nozzle and the earth etc is blown into a chamber, which sends it through fine mesh filters so that there is minimal dust sent into the atmosphere. The nozzles can be attached to 3 or 4 fan suction excavators dependent on the job and the surface that needs to be cleared.

There are fully remote-controlled machines which minimises risk to the operator as well as maximises the adaptability of the machine. The range goes up to a distance of 150metres – although it is dependent on the material that is needed to be removed.

There is even a complete remotely controlled mini tracked vehicle which can go into culverts, gullies, basements and tunnels, confined spaces, drain clearance and even ballast and storage tanks on shipping.   The operator can see exactly what is happening thanks to HD cameras and high-power lights. There are no exhaust fumes which make this suitable for indoors or confined spaces.

The Vacuum Excavator is being used in a variety of places e.g. Railways, Airports, Highways, Electrical and Gas sub stations. This is but a few of the possibilities for its uses.

With regard to the use for railways there are machines that actually run on the track and can help with removing ballast when a project requires the ballast to be removed whilst they work on the railway track itself.

At Airports they can easily dig out trenches near the runways without the need for piles of earth laying around and lots of machinery which could cause problems for the aircraft taking off or landing.

On the Highways using the vacuum excavator means less machinery, fewer barriers, less hold ups for drivers. By only using the vacuum excavator in a designated area there is minimal damage to the road surface as it is more precise than a digger.

At electrical substations or Gas installations because they use air to remove the soil there is little chance of any sparks in these sensitive areas.  Whereas using the traditional mechanical digger a metal bucket striking a stone has the potential to create a spark and both in the electrical or gas installations sparks have the potential to cause major problems.

The Vacuum Excavator is also more adaptable to the area that is needed to be cleared than a mechanical digger and quicker and more efficient than hand digging.

They can clear industrial filters, storage tanks, silos and even basements – just think if you are having your basement redesigned by using the vacuum excavator you won’t have to manually carry out the dirt and there would be less dust in the atmosphere.

You can hire these machines but they come with an operator to ensure that the job is carried out quickly and efficiently.