Vacuum Excavation, also referred to as a vacuum tanker or vacuum lorry, works like a hoover to excavate material around buried services or utilities including gas, electric, water, telecoms and fibre-optics by removing the soil, earth or other material covering the utilities by sucking in all the soil and material and avoids invasive digging methods such as hand digging or the use of traditional mechanical excavators, almost eliminating possible damage to cables and pipes.
In UK this safe dig approach is now used by building companies when digging foundations in a highly residential area or in places where the original drainage is made of clay and quite fragile.
Most extension builders in London and UK have experienced broken pipes while in the process of digging the footings for a house extension and the safe option of digging the trench is very welcomed.
A suction excavator produces powerful suction through a wide pipe which is up to 30 centimetres in diameter. The suction inlet air speed may be up to 100 metres per second .
The suction nozzle may have two handles for the operator to hold; those handles may be on a collar which can be rotated to uncover suction-release openings (with grilles over) to release the suction to make the suction nozzle drop anything which it has picked up and is too big to go up the tube.
The end of the tube may be toothed. This helps to cut earth when used for excavating; but when it is used to suck up loose debris and litter, some types of debris items may snag on the teeth. The earth to be sucked out may be loosened first with a compressed-air lance, or a powerful water jet.
Possible applications include:
- Replacement of pipes and fittings
- Renovation and new installation of gas-, water-, heating pipes, cables and disposal lines
- Exploratory excavations
- Railway trackside maintenance and repair
- Use of ground displacement rockets
- Clearing away environmental damage
- Replacement of contaminated soil around the roots of trees
- Removal of material in demolition projects
- Removal of gravel from flat roofs
- Cleaning blocked street gutters & gullies
- Operations involving the use of horizontal boring units
- Leaf removal
- Application for special operations