Company Uses Hydrovacs to Boost Brand Building and Job Site Productivity

Michigan’s M.L. Chartier Excavating is just as concerned about the appearance of its trucks as it is how effective they are out in the field

Company Uses Hydrovacs to Boost Brand Building and Job Site Productivity

Malcolm Chartier of M.L. Chartier Excavating in Fair Haven, Michigan.

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M.L. Chartier Excavating looks for equipment that will be effective out in the field, of course. But the Michigan-based company also counts on its equipment to do some brand building. That’s the reasoning behind its four distinctive, bright-red HX-12 hydroexcavators purchased from Ramvac (a brand owned by Sewer Equipment).

“They carry a lot of bling,” says Malcolm Chartier, a superintendent and son of company owner Todd Chartier. “Our trucks are different from most companies’ trucks because we don’t just order plain-Jane units. They’re fire-engine red and washed every day. We arrive on job sites to clean up things, so we want to show up with clean trucks. It’s our brand, our image.”

The trucks cost about $500,000 apiece and are built out on Peterbilt chassis with 12-cubic-yard debris tanks, 1,100-gallon water tanks, Hibon or Roots blowers, water pumps manufactured by Udor USA and a 22-foot-long “dig deep” boom (which can dig up to 13 feet below grade with just one standard vacuum tube). So in addition to the special paint jobs, polished horns, aluminum wheels and other embellishments, the trucks also impress customers with their power and reliability, Chartier says.

M.L. Chartier Excavating — which also owns 10 Vactor HXX hydroexcavators — also invested in the Ramvac units because of their compact design (36 inches shorter than most conventional hydrovacs). That means they are lighter as well (43,030 pounds when empty).

“That was a factor in our decision,” Chartier says. “With a lighter empty unit, we can haul more payload and still stay legal on Michigan roads.

“Customers like it because can do more work on the site. It saves money for customers when you can excavate eight holes on the same load rather than, say, six holes. At two more holes per day, that comes out to 10 extra holes a week, which improves our productivity.”

To help better distribute weight, the trucks feature quad axles, with lift-axles on the front and rear that can be raised when the truck is empty and lowered to increase payload distribution per axle and remain street-legal with a full load. The trucks are also fully winterized and feature two hose reels, one in the middle and one in the rear.

“That way we’re not dragging another 20 feet of hose out when we work from the side,” Chartier says. “Or we can have two guys working at the same time. Also, sometimes hoses break. So if a hose blows, we have a backup ready so we can complete jobs.”

Read more about M.L. Chartier Excavating in the September/October 2018 issue of Dig Different magazine.


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