Hydroexcavator Designed to Work in the Cold

Terra-Vex hydroexcavator’s components, enclosure built to operate in cold weather climates.
Hydroexcavator Designed to Work in the Cold
Travis Ouimet, right, parts manager with Transway, discusses the Terra-Vex hydroexcavator with 2016 WWETT Show attendees. The unit’s direct-drive blower with transfer case, silencers and water system are contained within an insulated, heated acoustical walk-in enclosure, enabling the unit to be used in subzero temperatures.

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Water main breaks are common in municipalities located in the northern half of the country. Aged infrastructure combined with subzero temperatures can often wreak havoc on water and wastewater systems.

Exposing those utilities to complete the work is also a challenge, as snow cover and frozen ground can make traditional excavation methods expensive and time-consuming, not to mention dangerous. That’s why the Terra-Vex, an all-season hydroexcavator highlighted by Transway at the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show, makes so much sense.

“The biggest feature on this unit is the diesel-fired burner that enables it to be used in subzero temperatures,” says Transway general manager Gary Robinson. “It also has a full enclosure that not only reduces noise levels, but gives operators the opportunity to escape from the elements.”


The Terra-Vex has a direct-drive Robuschi RB-DV145 6,400 cfm blower with OMSI transfer case, silencers and water system contained within that insulated, heated acoustical walk-in enclosure, including 23 square feet of usable storage space.

“We’ve had a lot of municipalities and contractors tell us that they are using their hydroexcavators more and more, but that cold weather can sometimes get in the way,” he says. “With the Terra-Vex, that problem is solved.”

The enclosure reduces sound levels by several decibels, enabling hassle-free residential work while ensuring operators and water components don’t freeze. According to Robinson, it’s a feature that makes the unit a solid fit for work in urban areas.

“That enclosure makes the unit much quieter than a typical hydroexcavator,” says Robinson. “It is a good choice for performing work in larger residential areas where you want to disrupt the neighborhood as little as possible.”


The unit’s hydraulically driven Pratissoli KT20 water pump delivers 10 gpm at 6,000 psi, and the 1,200-gallon HDPE water tank and 420,000 Btu burner are protected from the elements.

The 3,000-gallon debris tank comes with hydraulically operated hoist, full-open rear door and locks. There are dozens of customization options as well.

“There are a lot of different chassis options to choose from, depending on the type of work you’re going to be doing and the terrain it will be performed on,” says Robinson. “We try to work with each individual customer to build a truck that fits what they need.”

The unit’s 26-foot-8-inch suction boom is hydraulically operated with a joystick and wireless remote control. It uses biodegradable hydraulic oil, minimizing environmental risks. All parts are painted or powder-coated off the unit, ensuring no metal-on-metal contact. A backup camera also makes the unit easier to maneuver in tight space.

“We don’t spare any expense on these machines,” says Robinson. “They are designed to serve a municipality or contractor for a long time with little maintenance.”


Robinson says that the WWETT Show’s location in Indianapolis provides an ideal market for the Terra-Vex. While the show attracts attendees from all over the world, a large number of them are from the Midwest, where winter work can pose problems.

“The people here are pretty happy to see that there are options out there for winter hydroexcavation work,” he says. “It’s still a relatively new technology in this field, and more applications are being found constantly. It’s up to us to make machinery that adapts to those applications.” 800/263-4508; www.transwaysystems.com.


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