May 2018 Vol 73 No. 5


Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavator is Valuable Solution for Utility Department

The University of Central Florida (UCF) Utility Department wanted a better excavation method.
“We have a lot of old utility lines in the ground that haven’t been located in many decades,” said Anthony Lugo, utility supervisor.

Traditional excavation methods – an excavator or hand shovel – for finding and marking them, however, tended to be time consuming and intrusive to the property. An even bigger concern for Lugo is safety of his crew, “You don’t want to hit electrical lines with a shovel.”

Another excavation issue involved crew response to water line breaks. “Prepping the area for a repair is a tedious job, and time is of the essence,” he added.

In 2016, Lugo’s search for a solution ended with his purchase of a Vac-Tron AIR 373 SDT vacuum excavator.
Powered by an 83-horsepower Yanmar diesel engine, standard features include a 300-gallon debris tank, air pressure of 150 CFM at 170 PSI, hydraulically operated full-open rear door with auto-engage safety latch, and a 100-gallon water tank. It not only effectively removes debris, but its patented Remote Debris Tank collects the dry material and can then be positioned back over the hole and return the material, without causing much disruption to the surroundings.

With plenty of experience using the Vac-Tron equipment, Lugo now reports it’s “the best value for our money.”

For one thing, it has greatly increased efficiency. “What used to take four to six hours, now only takes one to two hours,” he said. “We aren’t spending any unnecessary time on the job.”

Other benefits include quick potholing to locate old utility lines for identification and mapping, faster response to and repair of water line breaks, and easy cleanup of wastewater spills, while being less intrusive to campus infrastructure and less disruptive to the environment.

It’s also safer. “This is considered soft digging, which is just basically pulling the dirt out of the ground, so you’re not striking anything,” he said.

Traditional excavators could hit a high-voltage electrical line, high-pressure water or gas line, and other dangerous things. “The Vac-Tron AIR unit helps to eliminate that,” said Lugo.

UCF has also discovered applications beyond the Utility Department. The Landscaping and Recreation crew uses it to clean out storm drains, and the Design and Construction team will request it to locate lines for future construction at the campus.

“For the value we are getting, it has turned out to be priceless,” concluded Lugo.

Vac-Tron, (888) 822-8766,

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