Companies Debut New Compact Vacuum Excavators at Utility Expo

Super Products, GapVax unveil smaller units ideal for urban settings

Companies Debut New Compact Vacuum Excavators at Utility Expo

The Super Products Mud Dog 700 vacuum excavator

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Seeing a need for smaller vacuum excavators in urban settings, manufacturers are continuing to make their units smaller, keeping them road legal when full.

Expanding the offerings in the category of 7-cubic-yard debris tank vacuum excavators are GapVax and Super Products. Both companies unveiled new units at The Utility Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, this week.

“The markets are doing well right now and construction has still been strong and is a growth market,” says Mike Reis, vice president of sales for Super Products. “Safety drives everything. Why dig into the ground with a known gas line with a shovel hoping you don’t hit it when you can do this? It’s becoming more and more of a requirement throughout the states.”

Super Products opened the show announcing its Mud Dog 700 unit, while GapVax debuted its VHX Series vacuum excavator. 

Both companies say they knew they needed to enter the 6- and 7-cubic-yard truck market but needed to find a way to do it without sacrificing what their larger trucks are capable of doing.

“When we first tackled this project, we wanted to find something that was weight conscious because we go after really big, heavy-duty hydroexcavating,” says Matt Hughes, senior vice president of sales for GapVax. “Our trucks are out there, they’re working in plants, and they’re hogging material and getting stuff done. We know there’s a market for a weight conscious unit, but how do you take weight out of something and still make it perform right and still give it high-end standards?” 

After some trial and error at the GapVax manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania, with workers sometimes weighing different components of the vacuum excavator individually, the company developed its VHX Series truck.

The GapVax VHX Series vacuum excavator
The GapVax VHX Series vacuum excavator

The VHX Series unit has a 7.5-cubic-yard debris body and an 8-inch tube-in-tube boom with a 22-foot reach and a 15-degree downward pivot. It can be used in wet or dry operation, carrying 750 gallons of water on two 375-gallon poly tanks. The water system is capable of 13 gpm and 3,000 psi.

Where the VHX stands out, according to Hughes, is that the unit’s positive displacement pump is capable of 4,000 cfm and 28-inch Hg. He says the company also stuck to what it knows best — bag filters.

“We’ve been building trucks a long time and each time we start a new platform it’s based on a lot of the older technology that we’ve always believed in and started with,” Hughes says. “The first truck that we ever built in 1989 had a bag house on it. This truck, a wet and dry vacuum excavator, has a bag house on it. It’s a small bag house, but where a lot of our competition gets into the filter cartridges and pleated things, we stayed tried and true to the tested bag filters.” 

To go along with the bag filters, the company also incorporated its usual cyclone filtration as well. The VHX Series has two cyclones on it that do the work of four.

“We’re excited about this truck and are looking forward to seeing what it does,” Hughes says. 

Super Products fell into the same dilemma of how to incorporate what their customers already like about the bigger units into a smaller one. The Mud Dog 700 sports a 7-cubic-yard debris body and an 8-inch extendable boom with 18-foot reach and 10-degree downward pivot. 

“It’s the first unit to go into this lower market size for us,” says Reis. “We actually spent probably over a year prior to that going out, interviewing our customers that use our trucks, and some that use vac trailers, and asked what they like about them, don’t like about those trucks, and that is where we came up with the design of this truck.”

The Mud Dog 700’s positive displacement vacuum system offers 3,100 cfm at 18-inch Hg. It can carry 600 gallons of water with its water system capable of 11 gpm and 3,000 psi.

“Our goal was trying to incorporate a bigger vacuum system with a larger hose and yet still keep the truck compact and be able to work in an urban setting,” Reis says. “Our design engineers did a great job of listening to our customers and giving them what they’ve been asking for.”

For more information on the Super Products Mud Dog 700, visit www.superproducts.com. For more information on the GapVax VHX Series, visit www.gapvax.com.



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