What is Vacuum Excavation?

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The Vac-Ex Process

Vacuum excavation also known as Suction Excavation, describes the method of safely excavating around buried utilities. The technology has existed for several decades but has been refined to have wider and more efficient applications throughout construction.

Service trenches, perimeter digs, or bespoke access solutions are just some of the possible applications. The vacuum excavation units can excavate up to 30 meter depth, 80 meters horizontally and have worked 50 meters vertically.

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Vac-Ex excavation of soil

How Vac-Ex Works

Breaking the ground – Compressed air is directed through an insulated AIR-EX lance to loosen, agitate, or aerate the ground initially. This loosened debris is then safely removed by the vacuum.

Removing the ground – The Vac-Ex unit generates a large amount of Air Flow & Vacuum through their Vacuum turbines. Air and debris travel through the Vacuum pipe into the Debris Chamber / Container. The Pressure drop inside the Container allows any air-borne particles to fall from the air stream. This partially clean air travels through a series of filters which further separate debris and dust. The ‘clean’ air is then finely filtered to 5 microns before being expelled through the baffles to the atmosphere.

Difficult ground – If the ground is more stubborn, high-pressure water is an excellent alternative. The resultant materials can then be removed using the same process above.

Transportation & Disposal – The Vac-Ex machines are sealed units, enabling the material to be transported without the risk of spillages or cross-contamination. Depending on the unit of choice, the resultant material can then be tipped to ground, bulk bag, wheelbarrow, skip and stockpile or into a controlled environment.

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Benefits of Vacuum Excavation

Vacuum Excavation advanced technology is a much quicker non-invasive process used to safely expose live utilities that could easily be damaged by traditional hand digging methods.

We are proud of our record of over one million hours with zero strikes, using extensions we can navigate through very narrow and deep holes or trench excavations with our Vac-Ex units.

There are many benefits of using suction excavation including health and safety.

  • Reduces Manual Operation with remote-control operated Vac-Ex units, ensuring work can be carried out safely in all areas and can be performed at distance, which means that there is no risk to the operator.
  • Cleaner Excavation, materials captured inside skips ensuring a safe working environment for worker on site.
  • Eliminating underground utility strikes maintaining Health & Safety records.
  • Minimizing traffic disruption.
  • Less manpower and equipment needed for each project, therefore more cost effective.
  • Reducing reinstatement costs by reducing the size of excavations.

At Vac-Ex we are committed to reducing the Co2 emissions generated from our vehicles.

Our units use HVO fuel which is a sustainable and renewable alternative to diesel making us much more environmentally friendly than other vehicles in the industry. For more information please visit our environmental page or complete the short form below.

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