Manufacturers debut the latest equipment to wow contractors attending the biannual show in Kentucky


Attendees at the 2017 International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition got their eyeful Tuesday as the biannual show opened with many manufacturers debuting new equipment.

“This is what we’re here for,” says Kevin Hayes as he stood at the Ditch Witch booth. “It’s a chance to see the latest tools for us contractors. We also get a chance to test drive some of it, which makes it even better.”

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Many manufacturers were taking the chance to highlight some of their newest equipment — some of it so new that no one has seen it even before the show. McLaughin Underground was showing two new vacuum excavation systems, including the new Vermeer MEGA VAC vacuum excavator product line.

At the show was the company’s VXT8 unit, with an 8-yard debris tank. The new MEGA VAC PTO-driven vacuum excavators come in three standard spoil capacity options: the VXT6 (6-yard), the VXT8 (8-yard), and the VXT10 (10-yard).

“We’re pretty excited about the VXT8 and our new AIR800 unit,” says Jake Jeffords, regional sales manager for McLaughlin. “These units now give us a wide-range of options for contractors.”

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The new AIR800 unit offers a 5-inch debris hose, while the VXT8 has a 6-inch hose and a smaller unit on site is equipped with a 4-inch hose.

The outside area at ICUEE known as K — one of three outside sections of the show — is the lot filled with excavators, directional drills, vacuum excavators and other similar underground utility construction equipment.

“Look around here, you can tell how much the underground construction services industry has grown in just the last few years,” says Todd Versteeg, a public relations specialist for Vermeer. Versteeg has been to several ICUEE shows. “I think this is the most amount of vacuum excavators I have seen at this show. It’s impressive.”

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Among the vacuum excavation manufacturers at the show besides Vermeer and McLaughlin were Ditch Witch, Vacmasters, Vactor, Vac-Tron, Vacall, Hi-Vac Corp., RAMVAC Vacuum Excavators by Sewer Equipment, and Smart-Dig USA.

Two unusual vacuum excavation trucks were getting some attention Tuesday. Those were the side-dump air excavation units on display. One by OX Equipment and the other by RSP-America.

Both units feature side-dump tanks to allow for easier dumping into trailers and both also have mechanical digging hoses.

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“It’s neat seeing what is out there and how it could fit in with our company,” says Guy Derling, who was scouting for vacuum excavation equipment for his northern California company. “Right now we aren’t do any vacuum excavation work, but it is something we’re considering adding because we’ve been asked about it by some of our customers now.”

Some other new equipment seen at the show include:

AT40 All Terrain Directional Drill (Ditch Witch)

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The AT40 is designed with an advanced two-pipe drilling system. The enhanced system boosts power and productivity when drilling and steering in hard rock conditions. The inner pipe of the AT40 works as a mechanical motor, driving the bit during the bore, and the outer pipe thrusts the bit forward while steering the drill shaft. During backreaming, the outer pipe transmits full machine torque downhole.

D8x12 Navigator Horizontal Directional Drill (Vermeer)

This new compact drill is sized for working in tight spaces, features straightforward controls and delivers quiet operation. With two drill rod options for added versatility, the D8x12 is suited for small service installations, including gas distribution, power, water and telecommunication networks.

Box Transmitter Housings (Underground Tools, Inc.)

Underground Tools is displaying its new high-flow, box x box transmitter housings. The housings are manufactured from 4142 heat-treated, chrome-moly steel and can be used with a variety of pilot bit styles. Housings will accept thread-on dirt bit sub adapters and any stile dirt bit, rock bit, or tricone bit and even work with mud motors.

ICUEE will continue today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.


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