The Vac-Ex Files: Vacmasters


Trevor Connolly, Vice President

Air vs. Water: It is important to understand that it takes more horsepower to dig a hole with air than it does with water. This is because air is a “soft” or compressible gas and water is a “hard” or non-compressible fluid. Air systems work by using the energy stored in compressed air to break apart the soil from within, while water works by cutting the soil and turning it into mud. One of the major problems with water is that it is very indiscriminate in terms of what it cuts. Meaning it will cut through the soil as intended, but there is always the chance that it will also cut through the utility buried within the soil.

Favorite Unit: The SYSTEM 5000 has the ability to trench and pothole. All the components, including the 300-cfm/220-psi compressor, the 1,400-cfm positive displacement blower and the high-pressure water system, 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, selectable air or water digging, remote operation up to 200 ft away, fast-acting interceptor canister, fully supervised control panel, 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 (just four to five minutes in most soils), more efficiently (spoils stay dry for backfilling), more economically (mud hauling and disposal costs are eliminated) and much more safely (air won’t damage utilities and is non-conductive).

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