Contractor finds machines easier to maneuver in tight-working job sites

When Mike Arme founded Underground Solutions in 2003, he knew he needed powerful and reliable equipment that would live up to the company’s name. He found just what he was looking for in Vacmasters System 4000 air-excavation machines.

“The main reason I decided to go with the Vacmasters 4000s was that they were one of the largest and most powerful air excavators out there at the time,” Arme explains. “That was important because our soil conditions around here range from sand to caliche (a hard sedimentary rock formed when lime cements soil particles together). I wanted the greatest chance to succeed in any soil condition.”

In addition, unlike hydroexcavators — which Arme also considered — air excavators don’t require water in order to work. Two other factors also influenced Arme’s decision: The Vacmasters’ relatively small footprint and a gross vehicle weight of under 26,000 pounds. In California, trucks that weigh more than that fall into a different regulatory category that involves more record keeping and triggers higher tax payments.

Related: Vacuum Excavation on Display at WWETT Show

“The 4000s are easier to maneuver into tight areas, but still have enough power to do the actual work,” Arme explains. “The truck is only about 30 feet long, so when we have to work in a high-traffic area, we take up as little space as possible,” he points out.

Reliability also was a big consideration. “We had always heard that trucks like this experience a lot of downtime, so we went into it with the Jaguar theory — that you need to buy two because one will always be in the shop,” he notes. “But our downtime has been very minimal.

“That’s critical because if we’re working for a contractor that needs excavation done to complete a critical tie-in or finish a shoring design, and has crews waiting to find the problem, there’s a lot of time and money wasted while waiting on us if a machine goes down,” he continues. “Or if a municipality calls us for an emergency job — say, a water-main break — a lot of people with their water already shut off get inconvenienced even longer if our machine goes down.”

Related: Air Excavation with a Contractor Mentality

Read more on California's Underground Solutions.

Watch a video on the company's VACMASTERS 4000 units.

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