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A "pair of threes"

Three tips for operating and maintaining vacuum excavators

Author: Vactor/Monday, July 14, 2014/Categories: Vacuum Excavators

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Three tips for operating and maintaining vacuum excavators 

Three quick tips for operating vacuum excavators:

  1. Use the right amount of water and the right amount of vacuum power. Don’t automatically use the maximum settings. Overworking the equipment when the application doesn’t call for it leads to increased wear and tear on the vacuum system and chassis.
  2. Every jobsite is different. Soil conditions and the presence of underground infrastructure can dictate the most productive method of vacuum excavation.
  3. Choose the best operating technique for your job. Low-flow water enables more precise, surgical cutting, and high-flow spray quickly erodes greater volumes of soil for fast excavation of larger areas.
    • The low-flow method conserves water, which allows for longer operating time without refilling the water tank, and less water in the debris hopper that must be hauled away and disposed of.
    • The high-flow method can be very productive, but requires significantly more water, with a higher percentage of each load in the form of water, not excavated soil.

And three quick tips for maintaining vacuum excavators

As with any piece of machinery, maintenance is critical to keeping a vacuum excavator functioning and productive. Vacuum excavators are powerful machines with many moving parts. Keeping the machine in top working order will lead to longer life, higher levels of productivity and better retained value.

  1. A proper time for everything. Be timely in attending to all maintenance steps, from daily checks of oil levels, vacuum hoses, water hoses, fittings, guards, vacuum protection devices and drain points to semi-annual inspections of probes, sensors and bolts. The air-filtration system also needs frequent checks to protect the vacuum system and prolong the life of the components. Each manufacturer provides a comprehensive list of recommended scheduled maintenance.
  2. Hydraulic system maintenance. Vacuum excavators rely on hydraulics to power the moving parts, so a clean and well-maintained hydraulic system is essential to keep the equipment in peak operation. Each moving joint needs to be periodically greased to prevent binding.
  3. Keep the water flowing. In addition to the maintenance required on vacuum excavators, hydro excavators require maintenance of the water pump system. Filters should be inspected and cleaned/replaced to protect foreign matter from entering and damaging pump seals. Handguns and water lances should be inspected to ensure they are in proper and safe working order.

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