Well-Designed Hydrovac Truck Makes Repairs Less Challenging

Acquiring repair parts isn't always easy for HydroEx due to its Puerto Rico location, so it's important for the company to have a machine that is easy to fix and experiences minimal breakdowns in the first place

Well-Designed Hydrovac Truck Makes Repairs Less Challenging

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As a hydroexcavating company that specializes in exposing underground utility lines and excavating foundation perimeters for building-expansion projects, HydroEx in Puerto Rico often is one of the first contractors on a job.

As such, there’s extra pressure to avoid equipment breakdowns that can cause a debilitating domino effect on a project and upset construction timelines.

“We’re usually doing exploratory work, so other contractors can’t proceed util we’re finished,” says Miguel Rivera Villamil, who co-owns HydroEx with his wife, Cecilia Lloréns. That pressure is exacerbated by the fact that Puerto Rico is about 2,200 miles from Florida; for perspective, that’s just 600 miles less than the approximate width of the United States. Getting parts quickly isn’t easy.

“Servicing equipment is a challenge and so is getting repair parts. You usually can’t get repair parts right away,” Rivera Villamil says. “So when our truck breaks down in the middle of a job, we have to try to get it back to the shop and make repairs that day or the next day, using whatever parts we have in inventory.

“We can’t afford to wait for two or three days for someone to come and repair it.”

Furthermore, mechanics on the island typically aren’t familiar with hydroexcavation-truck repairs. So Rivera Villamil has become a fairly proficient self-taught mechanic.

It helps that the company’s only hydroexcavation truck — a Maxvax 700 designed by Amerivac Group and built by Sewer Equipment — features a very user-friendly design.

The truck is built on a 2008 International 7400 chassis and features a 6-cubic-yard debris tank, a 650-gallon water tank, a Udor water pump (10 gpm at 2,500 psi) and a 3,000-cfm blower made by Roots (a brand owned by the Howden Group).

“One of the reasons we purchased the Maxvax is the way it’s engineered,” he says. “It’s very simple mechanically so it’s pretty easy to figure out repairs. The hardest part is getting parts, especially electric parts.”

Rivera Villamil says the company carries a small inventory of basic parts, such as pumps, cylinders and hoses. He also performs most of the truck maintenance, which is critical, given that the company’s biggest customer base is pharmaceutical companies with demanding environmental standards.

“Your truck cannot leak any oil when you’re working at a pharmaceutical company,” he says. “If they find a drop of oil while you’re working, they’ll take you off the project. So it’s essential to keep trucks well-maintained.”

Read more about HydroEx in the January 2022 issue of Dig Different magazine.



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