Vac-Ex Limited is a UK company. We design and manufacture compact, towable vacuum excavators and safe dig equipment. Today, especially in inner city locations the ground is congested with buried cables and pipes, some carrying high voltage electricity, vital information or explosive gases. The location of many services is inaccurately mapped or simply not known. This makes excavation extremely hazardous.

Striking a service can lead to a disruption to supply, injury or even fatalities. A loss of supply for businesses, hospitals military or emergency services can be catastrophic. Costs incurred to the excavating company from a strike, can amount to financially crippling six figure sums.

Everything we do at Vac-Ex is to provide a method of excavation that will allow the exposure of buried services and utilities without damage. The use of vacuum excavation is not only safer than hand or mechanical dig but quicker and easier. Also, in many applications, less material needs to be removed from the ground. Our Air-Ex air lance when connected to an air compressor will agitate the ground by injecting a blast of air to break up and loosen compacted ground, it can then easily be removed with the high level of vacuum from one of our compact vacuum excavators. When working in an area full of existing services it is often the only way the ground can be removed.

At present we manufacture three models, the T-Vac trailer mounted, T-Vac tracked and our most compact machine the Air-Vac tracked. Each machine has been designed to be compact, easily towed and can be operated by your own staff. Compact Vacuum Excavators offer the advantage that they are cost effective to mobilise and less disruptive by reducing traffic management or inconvenience to the public.

Vac-Ex units are very simple to operate and training for up to six operators is provided at our Doncaster head office. Training covers the safe use of the Air-Ex lance and the Vacuum Excavator. We impart a high level of training to ensure all our machines are operated effectively and above all in a safe manner.

Vac-Ex has sold compact units in the UK and overseas for many applications such as general utilities, house building, electrical substation work, fencing contracts, petro-chemical and military applications. Current users have been surprised at how the operators have adapted to the use of vacuum excavation and have immediately appreciated the advantage over hand or machine dig. We regularly hear that the use of vacuum excavation has eliminated service strikes and increased production.

The AIR-VAC vacuum excavator

The AIR-VAC is a unique innovative compact vacuum excavator. VAC-EX has drawn on its years of experience with the larger vacuum excavators to provide the industry with the first ever machine that solves the problem of safe digging, in restricted access areas. Making this safe digging technique available to more companies and operatives. Despite the compact nature, the innovative turbine and filtration design ensure there is still a high level of vacuum. The AIR-VAC complete with trailer weighs 2300kg, light enough to be towed to the work area behind an industry standard transit van or pick up. Where it can be quickly removed from its trailer.

The tracks and remote control, with five speed options allow it to be safely moved to the dig area. The AIR-VAC can be tracked through the tightest of locations. Once at the dig site the ground is agitated with compressed air through the VAC-EX, AIR-EX air lance, from a vehicle mounted compressor. The loosened ground can now be safely vacuumed into the AIR-VAC, where the debris is stored in the 0.2m cubed integrated skip. Both the air lance and dig pipe are manufactured from HDPE Plastic which will insulate the user if they are to contact a live unground cable. This has been tested and certified to 75,000 volts. Once the skip is full the AIR-VAC can be tracked to a convenient tipping point where using the remote control, the skip can be raised to allow the debris to be tipped into a dumpy bag, machine bucket or a low trailer. The AIR-VAC can now continue with the excavation, if required.

The design of the filtration system allows the removal of water or sludge from the excavation and a drain valve on the skip door means water can be drained away during the digging process, without tipping the skip. This improves the way repair and maintenance works are conducted. All operations of the AIR-VAC can be done from the hand-held remote control, so operators can be at a safe distance while the AIR-VAC is moving. The addition of a flashing beacon and white noise alarm warns anyone in the area that the unit is mobile. The hydrostatic track drive ensures that when the remote control is released or dropped the AIRVAC will stop instantly. The hydraulic power take-off allows hydraulic power to be used for a breaker or saw to cut away a hard surface prior to digging. Everything is powered from a 3 cylinder 18.5KW Tier 5 diesel engine keeping emissions and fuel consumption to a minimum. The five-inch dig tube is easily manipulated around congested services to clear the ground allowing access for repair operations. This pipe can be reduced in size for more precise digging and for the removal of less ground, to reduce impact on the ground and reinstatement costs.

When the work is complete the AIR-VAC is tracked back on to the trailer, secured at the front with a single pin and at the rear with two ratchets straps. It is now ready to be towed to the next job.