Air Excavation

What is Air Excavation or Suction Excavation?

Air Excavation is the process of using compressed air to disturb the earth’s soil which is then vacuumed up into a debris tank. Air excavation is used to safely expose underground utilities and allows backfill with the dry material.

The Vac-Tron Air 573/873 & 1273 SDT have an attached air compressor with air flow: 150 cfm; air pressure: 170 psi; air hose length 50’ and 1” diameter. Vac-Tron’s AIR Series also can be purchased with the patented Remote Debris Tank which is designed for dry potholing. The remote debris tank allows the operator to collect the dry material and when the pothole is complete, the tank can be positioned over the hole and the dry material is dumped back in the hole.

Air Excavation Procedure Overview

    1. Confirm the crew has safety gear on and the area is prepared for digging
    2. Begin initial break up of soil (dirt, clay, other materials) with air pressure
    3. Start digging with vacuum and remove soil as the air pressure continues to loosen soil
    4. Check status of hole and utilities exposed, identify
    5. Excavated soil is returned from excavator storage tanks for minimal disruption

Air Vacuum Excavation Benefits

  1. Safely verify condition, type, diameter, and depth of buried utilities
  2. Use the dry debris to refill the hole
  3. Less disruption and cleaner work site
  4. Eliminate the need for hand digging or other abrasive excavation
  5. Increases digging efficiency for projects & highly cost effective
  6. Great for utilities that are buried deep underground or in a congested area

This process is also referred to as:

  • Dry Potholing
  • Air Knife Excavation
  • Air Lance Excavation
  • Daylighting
  • Vacuum Excavation
  • Suction Excavation

Below you can view demonstration videos of air vacuum excavation. Contact us to request a demo or for more information about the latest technology for safe and more efficient digging.

Request an On-Site Demonstration!

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Air Excavation Equipment: