Elon University Puts Vacuum Excavator To Work In A Wide Range Of Applications

Traditionally, vacuum excavators have been used by contractors for daylighting buried utilities, minimizing disruption to the impacted area and leaving behind a negligible mess. Today, the benefits of soft digging — the process of using a combination of suction and high-pressure water and air to remove dirt and other materials from the ground — are gaining attention with crews working in non-traditional applications. For example, innovative maintenance professionals like David Willis, plumbing supervisor at Elon University, a private university with nearly 5,000 students located in Elon, North Carolina, are now using vacuum excavators to complete maintenance tasks around their facilities.

Two years ago, the university purchased a Vermeer Vac-Tron LP373SGT vacuum excavator, which Willis said his department uses frequently: “We use it for everything, from potholing to find utilities for new construction to running it like a shop vac to pull water out of flooded buildings. We also have used it dig holes for new trees, signs, footings — we use it a lot.”

As an example, Willis knew that Vermeer made a good stump cutter, but taking stumps out for trees that have grown around utilities can be a real challenge. With their Vac-Tron LP373SGT vacuum excavator, when Willis’ team runs into this type of issue on campus, they employ their vacuum excavator to dig around the stump. This gives them a better visual of the root ball and utility lines, and from there, they are able to safely remove the stump without damaging nearby utilities.

Adding a vacuum excavator to their equipment fleet

According to Willis, before the university invested in their own machine, a contractor working for the university had used a vacuum excavator while tunneling under a building to fix some utilities, and Willis was impressed with the results. Following that project, Willis contracted another vac crew to clean out vaults on campus. “The college was built in 1889, and they’ve been burying stuff in the ground since then — and nobody knows where anything is,” said Willis. “Vacuum excavation has been a great way of exposing what’s down there, like poles, power lines, water lines or steam tunnels, without being intrusive.”

After using this excavation method successfully on multiple projects, he went to the university’s administration and asked to purchase a vac for his department’s dedicated use. Willis said the university’s administration had gotten tired of seeing his department’s backhoe around campus, and with their own vacuum excavator, his crew would be able to find utilities without tearing the university all to pieces, versus the mess made with a backhoe. “Upper management kept asking me, ‘What are you digging up now?’ It seemed that every time we used the backhoe to dig around campus, it made a huge mess.”

He continued, “They really appreciated that this method is a little softer and gentler. When it came time for allocating money for new machinery, they asked me what I wanted, and I told them a vac — they were so pleased with the results they’d seen from our contracted units, that’s how I got ours.”

Equipped to get the job done

When he had the funds to purchase the vacuum excavator approved, Willis reached out to his local Vermeer dealer, Vermeer Mid Atlantic in Colfax, North Carolina. “I had worked with Vermeer on different stuff, and I’d used their equipment before. Knowing that Vermeer owned the Vac-Tron and McLaughlin vacuum excavator brands, when I talked with them, they were ‘Johnny-on-the-spot’ to get the process going.”

Willis said they chose a Vac-Tron LP373SGT model because it was right sized to complete the work Elon University maintenance crew needed to do. And according to Willis, the new vacuum excavator came with everything he needed, but he did purchase additional hoses to increase the machine’s usage. “The unit comes with 25 feet (7.6 m) of hose, but because we bought additional hoses and the couplings, we can go out as far as the distance on our piping, about 70 feet (21.3 m).”

He mentioned that having this extra hose available had come in handy many times. “Recently, we had a pipe burst, flooding out a building. Water was running everywhere so we backed up the machine and ran the hose through a window,” he said. “Because we had the hose and fittings to make it the right size for what we needed, we were able to use the vac to suck the water up out of the floor and straight into the tank — very similar to how restoration professionals use this type of equipment to suck the water out of the buildings.”

He added that they also bought additional accessories in order to maximize the machine’s use. “We did buy a jetter,” he said, “as well as a hose reel that attaches to it, so we can jet and clean sewer lines at the same time.”

One truck for many uses

Willis said that other departments on campus have also caught on to how useful the vacuum excavator is and are asking to use it more and more for other applications. “Our engineering group asks us to pothole for them frequently. They have a general idea where utility is, and we send our crew over to confirm the location and depth.”

For instance, Willis mentioned that as new buildings are being constructed, they’ve been trying to run sewers through older parts of the campus and have used the vacuum excavator for exposing the utilities before digging. He said that once the engineering team thought there was a gas line buried, but the locating people couldn’t find it. Willis and his crew brought the vac out, potholed the the ground and found the line — enabling the engineers to visibly check it.

Making some surprising discoveries

Willis said that the vac has not only been useful in uncovering utilities but also in locating other materials buried underground. “Many times, we thought stuff was at a certain depth, or hoped something was here, so we’ve used the vac to pothole to know whether or not we could run a line. We know from maps generally what’s what, but we’ve dug down and found stuff we weren’t expecting. Sometimes, it’s an old utility line that we know has to be inactive because the building it would attach to isn’t there anymore.”

Other times, he said that the crews have been surprised at what they’ve found. Once, he said, his crews dug down and found a parking lot. “Back in the 1960s, there was a building and parking lot that the college wanted to make a natural area,” he said. “Basically, the crews at the time just put dirt down to cover the area, graded and landscaped it, and then everyone forgot about the parking lot. Fast forward 50 years, now we want to bury a sewer line across the area — when we dug down about 3 feet (.9 m), we hit asphalt. Sure enough, the curbing and everything from the parking lot was still under there!”

Estimating that their Vac-Tron LP373SGT vac is used about 70% of the time in plumbing applications, Willis said that the rest of the time it’s supporting other campus services. One thing is for sure, though, there isn’t much idle time for the university’s vacuum excavator. “It’s been a good machine, and it’s really been helpful,” Willis said, mentioning that the university’s maintenance departments continue to find more and more uses for the machine.


Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer, the Vermeer logo and Vermeer MV Solutions are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. Vac-Tron Equipment is a trademark of Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC.

© 2020 Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Mini-Combo Vacs Designed To Handle Big Work

Mini In Name, Not In Productivity

Mini-combo vacuum excavators provide contractors, municipalities exceptional versatility.

Don’t let the “mini” label fool you. Vermeer Vac-Tron series mini-combo vacuum excavators offer owners and operators opportunities other machines don’t through a versatile combination of components and options that facilitate both hydro-jetting and excavation work in a single machine. Although the Vac-Tron mini-combo series of trailer vacuum excavators may have a more compact footprint compared to full-sized trucks or larger trailer-mounted systems, what they lack in physical size they make up for in versatility and performance, delivering productivity to smaller, space-restricted jobsites that are often inaccessible with these machines’ larger counterparts.

The mighty mini

For a “mini” machine, the mini-combo series helps change how municipalities perform routine water and sewer maintenance work — along with a variety of other supplementary jobs they can be used for — in a more efficient and productive manner, according to Vermeer MV Solutions® Sales Director Brian Showley.

Right now, most municipalities have larger jetter trucks in their fleets, but they’re typically reserved for bigger jobs for which they were designed. The efficiency and functionality of those larger units decline when deployed for smaller excavation, jetting and potholing work. Using a mini-combo machine instead helps maintain a high productivity for both machines by better matching their capabilities with the jobs for which they’re used.

“Many municipalities are starting to realize that, with the cost of operation, it doesn’t make sense to pull a large vacuum excavation truck off a larger project to work on a 4-inch (10.1 cm) lateral. If you have to pull it off a big job, you aren’t getting the value from the machine,” Showley said. “You can do that smaller job for a fraction of the cost and keep that big truck busy doing the jobs for which it was designed.”

With their high onboard water capacity, the machines enable the operator to work longer hours without stopping to refill, a process that pauses revenue-generating work, sometimes for hours.

Choosing the right mini-combo

The combined sewer jetting and hydro-excavation capabilities make the mini-combo models ideal for a range of other excavation and potholing jobs. So, how do you know if a mini-combo machine is right for your fleet?

Showley recommended asking a few key questions if you’re a contractor or municipality considering adding a mini-combo vacuum excavator to your equipment lineup.

  • What kind of excavation work do you do?
    • Do you need and/or want to add jetting and hydro-excavation capabilities?
    • What other excavation services could you reasonably offer by adding these capabilities?
  • What excavation equipment do you currently use and how do you use it?
    • What are your limitations with your current fleet?
    • What kind of jobsite space restrictions do you encounter?
    • Do you use and/or have access to a large jetter truck?
      • If not, how are you responding to customer requests for work that requires this type of machine?
      • If yes, are you renting or do you own it?

Specifications to get work done

Once you have answered the questions above, it is time to evaluate the models available. Vac-Tron offers three models — the 573 SDT, 873 SDT and 1273 SDT vacuum excavator.

  • The 573 SDT model offers a 300-gallon (1,136-L) water tank capacity and 500-gallon (1,892.7-L) spoils tank capacity.
  • The 873 SDT unit has a 400-gallon (1,515-L) water tank and an 800-gallon (3,028-L) spoils tank capacity.
  • The 1273 SDT machine also has a 400-gallon (1,515-L) water tank capacity with a higher 1,200-gallon (4,545.5-L) spoils tank capacity.

All three models are engineered with a pump rated at 1,500 pounds per square inch (103.4 MPa) at 15 gallons per minute (57 L/min) and a powertrain featuring a 74-horsepower (55-kW) engine. This powerful engine and pump combination enable these “mini” machines to clean lateral lines up to 12 inches (30.4 cm) in diameter and 500 feet (152.4 m) in length.

Most importantly when looking at these specifications is that you need to consider the size — length, width, height and weight — of these machines to best understand which unit to choose. Deemed “mini” because of their compact footprint compared to larger jetter trucks, they can fit into and onto narrower, tight-access jobsites. For comparison, the small 573 SDT model measures 253 inches (643 cm) in length, 100 inches (254 cm) in width and sits 91 inches (231 cm) high. Its total gross weight is 14,000 pounds (6,350 kg).

The mid-sized 873 SDT unit measures 271 inches (688 cm) in length, 102 inches (259 cm) in width and sits 99 inches (251 cm) high. Its total gross weight is 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg).

The larger 1273 SDT machine measures 265.5 inches (674 cm) in length, 102 inches (259 cm) in width and sits 122 inches (310 cm) high. Its total gross weight is 24,000 pounds (10,886.2 kg).

Outfitted with options and accessories

Vac-Tron mini-combo vacuum excavators are engineered with a patented filtration system that includes an industry-leading .5-micron filtration with a filter housing, as well as a four-way valve for reverse pressure and an oversized silencer for quiet operation. They also come standard with a jetter wheel and heavy-duty I beam trailer.

These vacuum excavators do come with a choice of mechanically operated strong arms or hydraulic booms. Strong arms offer 270° of rotation and is designed to support the weight of the vacuum hose and roller head, allowing for smooth, fluid movements and adjustments, but this option requires manual operation. The hydraulic boom option provides the operator with six-way functionality and 330° of rotation — all with wireless, remote operation.

Vermeer MV Solutions Regional Sales Manager Mike Spaulding said hydraulic booms enable a single operator to do the same work as two workers with other vacuum excavators. “With a strong arm, you have to have two workers, one with the 4-inch (10.1-cm) hose over their shoulder and the operator controlling it.,” Spaulding noted. “The hydraulic boom allows the hose to rest in the boom, and with a remote, the operator can adjust and operate while they’re cutting. The operator can control that boom without absorbing so much of the impact with other systems using the handheld wireless remote controller, so they can operate from a distance if necessary.”

While the versatile hydraulic boom option does come with a higher price tag than the strong-arm choice, it can be offset in the right working situation on a range of jetting and excavation jobs.

“Preferences for options like the hydraulic boom depend on how the owner looks at their business. If they are going to have a large workforce on the jobsite, they may be less apt to pay for a hydraulic boom — opting instead for the mechanic strong arm configuration since they can put an extra worker on the job to help out.”

“But, if it’s someone who’s having trouble finding the right labor,” Spaulding added, “the hydraulic boom is a more attractive option so that extra worker doesn’t need to be there. If labor constrains your ability to dump and refill water tanks and you just have one worker to operate the machine, they can still be efficient with a hydraulic boom.”

Another hydraulic component of the Vermeer mini-combo machines is a rear door that enables the operator to efficiently clean out the tank when the job is complete.

These mighty mini-combo vacuum excavators can be used on a variety of jobsites including general utility work, as well as niche plumbing, sewer and municipality projects. “There are so many applications for which these machines work so well, and so many ways to save time on the jobsite. Contractors need to take all of this into account in determining how they can use a mini-combo vac,” Spaulding concluded.

For information about the mini-combo vacuum excavator, contact your local Vermeer dealer to learn more about how you can put one to work in your business.


Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer, the Vermeer logo and Vermeer MV Solutions are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. Vac-Tron Equipment is a trademark of Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC.

© 2020 Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Vermeer MV Solutions Dealer Support


Vermeer dealers are here for utility contractors today and every day

The world is living in unprecedented times. While there is no such thing as “business as usual” during today’s uncertainty, utility contractors around the world are doing essential work to keep businesses going, students learning and families connected.

Keeping the world connected means showing up every day and performing underground utility work as efficiently as possible. To do that, your crews should be employing vacuum excavators to pothole all nearby utilities to help mitigate the risk of a utility strike. Since potholing should be performed ahead of any horizontal directional drilling or open-cut work in congested areas, it’s essential to choose a vacuum excavator supported by a dependable network.

According to Scott Gabor, North/Central Florida regional manager for Vermeer Southeast Sales & Service Inc., vacuum excavators have become an essential piece of machinery for utility contractors. “Crews depend on vacuum excavators for maximizing their working time every day, which is why it is vital to work with a responsive equipment partner,” he explained. “When a vac needs to be serviced, minutes matter. We know that, which is why I believe vacuum excavators sold through Vermeer are so widely used in our area.”

Understanding your needs

Gabor said that the first thing contractors should look at when selecting a dealer is the amount of business they do within their line of work. “When looking at utility work, there are only a few dealer networks that dedicate a majority of its resources in this particular area of the construction industry,” Gabor added. “Our expertise matters because we have a better-rounded understanding of utility contractors’ needs. We’ve built our organization around being able to help those individuals. It’s not just service and parts either, Vermeer dealers offer a wide range of skilled labor training events as well to help make sure our customers’ employees understand how to operate and maintain the equipment in their fleet.”

Convenient locations

When you’re vetting a dealer, you also need to make sure they can support your crews wherever you are working. The nature of utility work means your teams are moving around a lot, so you need dealers who not only come to the job when you need them but also have dealer locations conveniently located in the places your team works.

Vermeer Southeast Sales & Service, for example, has 11 dealer locations throughout Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and affiliated companies in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. “In the region, we have one of the largest networks of dealership locations, but we also have an extensive amount of service technicians and sales support representatives in the field, helping customers every day. The combination of our physical locations and team in the field ensures we are there when our customer needs us, and we can get parts and tooling out to a crew quickly.”

Inventory check

While parts and service are a big part of making sure a dealer can support your needs, you also want to make sure they have an extensive inventory of new and used equipment for when its time to add another vacuum excavator. Gabor said each of their 11 yards has a mix of the right vacuum excavators for the needs of utility contractors working in the area. “With so many people working in the field around our dealer territory, we know what models of vacs are helping crews operate efficiently. We stock heavier on those models,” he explained. “We can also get any model we don’t have on stock from another location, as well as vacs with optional accessories. We understand that utility work won’t wait, and our customers shouldn’t have to either.”

Whether you’re working in Florida or somewhere else, Vermeer has one of the furthest reaching dealer networks in the world for vacuum excavators and an extensive model lineup to match. Also, Vermeer dealers have provided vacuum excavators sales and service support since the 1990s. They were there then and will continue to be there to support your crews in the future.

Part of the team

“There are a lot of manufacturers in the vacuum excavator business,” said Gabor. “Some vacs are better built than others, but I don’t believe anyone else offers the quality and innovative product lineup and dealer support Vermeer does. From manufacturing, parts and service to training and support in the field, we go all out to make sure we support the essential work utility contractors are doing each and every day.”

Vermeer and its extensive group of dealers are here to support you now and all the days ahead. For more information, contact your local Vermeer dealer or visit vermeermvs.com.

Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer, the Vermeer logo and Vermeer MV Solutions are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. Vac-Tron Equipment is a trademark of Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC.

© 2020 McLaughlin Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Making sense of Vacuum Excavator Specs

When it’s time for you to add a new vacuum excavator to your fleet, you’ll likely spend time reviewing equipment specifications to determine the right machine for your needs. With all of the different specs outlined in product brochures, you may have a few questions about what it all means. More importantly, how do you know which key specs to pay attention to?

According to Brian Showley, director of sales for Vermeer MV Solutions, you can learn a lot about a vacuum excavator’s performance capabilities by its hose size. “Vacuum excavator hoses can tell a contractor a lot about the volume of air being moved by the vacuum pump — typically referred to as vacuum CFM (cubic feet per minute),” he said. “Hose diameter sizes can also help a contractor determine a unit’s mercury level and onboard horsepower.”

Performance specs

When comparing one vacuum excavator with another, start by choosing units with the same hose size. From here, you can dive deeper into the specs by comparing vacuum CFM numbers. Showley said that many manufacturers offer different vacuum pumps in each hose size, especially on smaller models. “Not every contractor is using vacuum excavators to do the same thing or in similar soil conditions. It would be overkill for a contractor who only needs to suction drill slurry to invest in a high CFM model if they don’t intend to pothole. On the other hand, many contractors who are potholing utilities want the most compact machine available to maneuver in confined areas, which is why they would seek out a small-hosed, high CFM model.” he explained.

To achieve higher CFM capacities, larger, more powerful engines must be used. Higher horsepower engines will deliver more torque to the vacuum and water pumps to give you higher mercury levels (suction) and pounds per square inch.

Showley said that contractors should also note a vacuum excavator’s mercury level to ensure its high enough to accommodate their needs. “Mercury levels should be thought of like drinking water from a glass. The length and diameter of a straw makes a big difference. A normal straw doesn’t require a lot of effort, but if someone were to swap it out with a garden hose, it would be almost impossible to suck the water up. The same holds true with vacuum excavators: much less effort (horsepower) is required to suction material at short distances and depths. While longer depths, distances or diameters require more effort.”

All of the specs outlined to this point should be viewed as performance-related specs. Hose size, vacuum CFM, mercury levels, water pump capacities and engine horsepower are all connected and will ultimately tell you to what a vacuum excavator is capable of. Now, you need to move on to capacities.

Tank capacities

Spoil and water tank capacities do not have any impact on how a machine will perform, but they will have an impact on how long you can stay on a job and the costs to transport it.

Most manufacturers will offer spoil tank capacities starting at around 300 gallons up to 2,000 gallons. Showley explained that tank sizes should be matched with the application. “Crews mainly doing pothole work don’t need large tank capacities because they will likely use up their water tank reserves around the same time the spoil tank is filled,” he said. Higher capacity tanks are usually found supporting horizontal directional drill (HDD) crews so they can go longer between dump cycles. However, contractors need to make sure they don’t go too high and exceed Department of Transportation (DOT) weight restrictions.”

Water tank capacity needs are also tied to how a vacuum excavator is being used. Crews need more water when potholing and very little, if any at all, when supporting a drilling crew. “While there are many vacuum excavator models on the market that do not have a high-pressure hose, I always encourage contractors to consider purchasing one with water capabilities,” explained Showley. “A high-pressure washer is handy for cleaning equipment and the spoil tank. It also helps maintain a high residual value for anyone looking to upgrade their system in the future.”

Other specs

A few other specs you may want to browse through include a unit’s weight and measurements, as well as the optional accessories a manufacturer offers for a particular machine. All of these fine details can help you when it’s time to add or upgrade.

When it is time for a new vacuum excavator, you don’t have to go at it alone. Your local Vermeer MV Solutions dealer can help make sense of all the specs and help you determine which model best matches your needs. You can also visit mclaughlinunderground.com and vactron.com to see all of the current Vermeer MV Solutions Vacuum excavator models available.

Meet The Experts Behind Safe Excavation With Mike Rowe

Using a vacuum to suck dirt from a hole may seem strange, but it is one of the innovative ways excavation is now occurring. The process often referred to as vacuum excavation, uses a combination of suction and high-pressure water and air to move dirt and other material away from underground facilities in order to expose their exact locations.

Brian Showley helps explain and demonstrate how vacuum excavation is used, and how it results in greater safety for those involved in the line locating and excavation process. Learn from Brian some key steps that can, and should be taken by all when excavating, including coming up with a plan of when and where excavation will occur, what to do when crossing other underground facilities, and activities that should occur in the “tolerance zone” surrounding a buried facility.

See the video here: safeexcavator.com/meet-the-experts

Gas-Powered Vacuum Excavators are a Powerful and Economical Solution for Utility Construction

It wasn’t all that long ago most vacuum excavators on the market were equipped with a diesel engine. Units with a gas engine were thought to be underpowered with a shorter life expectancy than similarly sized diesel-powered units. However, today’s advanced gas engines and the added costs associated with new Tier 4 diesel engines have left many contractors reevaluating their stance on gas-powered vacuum excavators, and you should be, too. 

According to Brian Showley, director of sales for Vermeer MV Solutions, the capabilities of gas-powered vacuum excavators have expanded dramatically in the last few years. “Gas-powered vacuum excavators have always been a good option for contractors using them to support a horizontal directional drilling crew with fluid management,” he explained. “However, many older gas models couldn’t move enough cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air to efficiently pothole buried utilities. Today, there are high CFM gas-powered vacuum excavators available that are more on par with similar-sized diesel units.”

Market Shift

More than two decades ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced a tiered series of emissions regulations designed to reduce the carbon footprint of off-highway equipment. Since going into effect, engine and equipment manufacturers have worked together to meet each of the EPA’s tiered regulations, and today’s advanced Tier 4 diesel engines are the results of that work. Tier 4 final engines reduce carbon emissions, increase fuel efficiency, and allow for longer service intervals, but cost significantly more to purchase. 

Meanwhile, as diesel engines were being reengineered to be in compliant with Tier 4 regulations, smaller gas engines were also being redesigned with sophisticated computer controls and high-pressure fuel delivery systems to optimize power and fuel efficiency. Today, most gas-powered vacuum excavators have electronic fuel injection (EFI) engines that are much more reliable and powerful than older carburetor engines.

“The rising costs of purchasing diesel-powered equipment and the performance improvements of EFI gas-powered machines is leading many contractors to run more of a mixed fleet,” explained Showley. “The switch started with the trucks they drive to the job and is expanding to support equipment including vacuum excavators. It’s a trend that is likely to continue as long as they don’t have to sacrifice performance. In fact, contractors working in colder climates might be better off with an EFI motor because they start much easier on cold days.” 

High CFM

Gas-powered vacuum excavators have been around for many years, but Showley said he has noticed a shift in use since Vermeer MV Solutions introduced its Vac-Tron CV SGT High CFM vacs with a 1,000 CFM vacuum pump powered by a 38 horsepower (28.3 kW) EFI gas engine. “Contractors used to complain that gas engine vacs didn’t have enough suction power for potholing in clay and other challenging soil conditions,” he explained. “The introduction of high CFM gas models changed that. These new models deliver the same vacuum performance and have the water pump capacity to deliver plenty of pressure to loosen up material. There is not much of a performance difference between high CFM gas vacs and diesel-powered units in the 3 inch – 4 inch (7.6 cm-10.2 cm) diameter hose size vacuum excavator market anymore.” 

Showley went on to say that the similar performance levels of high CFM gas-powered vacuum excavators also have a lower price tag than their diesel counterparts. “While gas-powered vacs are more economical to operate because of the lower upfront purchase price, gas engines tend to not last as long as a quality diesel engine,” he said. “That is the trade-off that contractors need to wrestle with. However, in many instances, the price difference between gas and diesel engines is substantial enough to offset the costs of having to replace a gas engine down the road. Over the road, gas-powered vacs have an advantage because they usually don’t weigh as much as diesel units. A difference of a few hundred pounds can make a big difference when hauling a full tank of slurry.”

Choosing Diesel

Investing in a quality vacuum excavator with a diesel engine is still a solid investment for contractors. The fact of the matter is, diesel models will likely hold their value better than gas-powered units, which makes a difference for any contractor who likes to upgrade their fleet often. Also, while gas-powered vacuum excavators match up pretty well within the 3 inch – 4 inch hose size class, diesel is still king in the larger vacuum excavator sizes. “Maybe someday gas engines will be able to better compete in those higher categories, but for now advances in the smaller categories are leading the way,” added Showley. 

Gas or diesel vacuum excavators — the choice is up to you. If you need help weighing your options, be sure to contact your local Vermeer dealer or request a demo below.

Vacuum Excavation Applications – Going Beyond Utility Work

Since the introduction of hydro and air vacuum excavation equipment, utility applications like potholing and cleaning up horizontal directional drilling (HDD) slurry have been a natural fit for these machines. However, there are many industries using vacuum excavators to replace more labor-intensive and inefficient methods of working. Vacuum excavators aren’t just for utility work anymore.

Vermeer MV Solution vacuum excavators have a wide range of applications, many of which don’t even involve excavating, such as cleaning to reshaping sand traps at golf courses. Here’s a look at a few of the industries using hydro and air vacuum excavator equipment.

Municipal work

Many cities employ large vac trucks to maintain networks of sewer systems, but public works departments sometimes need smaller and more nimble vacuum excavators to help out and allow crews to work in more places at one time. Municipalities are adding hydro and air vac systems to excavate for poles and signs, aid with water line repairs, exercise water valves and jet sewer pipes.

“Cities, counties and state entities are always discovering new ways to use vac systems,” said Brian Showley, director of sales for Vermeer MV Solutions. “Beyond some of the traditional applications, workers employ vacuum excavators to remove roots and debris around water meters and valves, and remove waste from storm drains, catch basins and culverts. High-pressure water wands help them with digging and cleaning. Air vacuum excavators are also excellent for pressure testing sewer lines.”


Industry plants are investing in vacuum excavators to help clean around the facility. “Vacuums aren’t new for cleaning at industrial plants,” explained Showley. “Facility managers used to have to employ service companies with big trucks to work during scheduled shutdowns. With smaller vacuum excavators, they can now make cleaning an ongoing effort, which has helped extend the intervals between scheduled shutdowns.”

Vac systems are also widely used to remove debris from drains in wash bays and car washes. “These drains tend to get plugged up with mud, grease and waste oil while cleaning dirty equipment, and doing the work with a shovel is a job no one wants,” said Showley. “Vacuum excavators do a better job in a fraction of the time.”


Vacuum excavators are finding a home in agriculture doing projects like installing fencing to cleaning up grain bins and animal stalls. Using a high-powered digging wand and suction hose can reduce the time it takes to set fence posts. Also, when fencing is being done in areas that share the right of way with buried utilities, vacuum excavation is a safe way to avoid damaging the utilities.

Vac systems can also help maintain a safe working environment while cleaning grain bins. Traditional cleaning methods produce high levels of airborne dust. Vacuum excavator filtration systems do an excellent job of containing that dust and limiting a worker’s exposure.

Of course, suctioning dry material isn’t the only cleaning that vacs excel at. From equestrians to zookeepers, vacuum excavators are being used to sanitarily clean animal stalls. According to Showley, having an all-in-one cleaning system saves a lot of time. “Bedding and waste used to have to be manually removed from a stall or with a small loader and then hauled away before pressure washing the area — there can be a lot of trips involved,” he explained. “With hydro-vacs, workers suction up everything with the debris hose and have a high-pressure washer right there to spray everything down and then collect all of the loose material and water in one step.”


There are also a few niche landscaping applications that vacuum excavators are being used for. Contractors are renting them to remove old mulch or rock around flowerbeds, parks and around buildings, as well as to dig holes for fence posts and footings for signs. Vacs are also being used at large cemeteries for setting headstones.


It’s also worth noting that vacuum excavators aren’t just being used to do utility work in the construction industry. Utility strikes are a common concern for every contractor working near buried lines. And anytime new subdivisions are being constructed, vacuum excavators are an excellent addition to help with sewer and drainage work.

There are a ton of applications where using a vacuum excavator can improve efficiencies while maintaining a safe working environment.

To learn more about vacuum excavation or to demo a vacuum excavator for yourself, contact your local Vermeer MV Solutions dealer.

Managing Your Fleet: When to Add or Upgrade a Vacuum Excavator

As your business grows, managing your equipment fleet size can be an ongoing source of stress. You want to have the right size and type of equipment to handle the current load, but you also need to account for the future when adding new machines to your fleet. It’s a dilemma that busy utility and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) contractors think about often as their backlog of work grows.

Fleet management decisions are rarely cut-and-dried, and according to Brian Showley, director of sales for Vermeer MV Solutions, understanding when it’s time to add another vacuum excavator or replace an older or underperforming unit can go a long way in helping to improve a company’s overall operations. “Two things that can slow crews down are excessive wait/down times and making do with an underpowered system for the soil conditions,” he said. “When the vac crew isn’t keeping up with the needs of the job, adding another unit is generally the right approach. If it’s more of a performance issue, then trading or selling the existing vacuum excavator and upgrading to a new one is probably the right way to go.”

How and where you are operating your vacuum excavators are the key questions when determining the right time to upgrade. “Falling behind on potholing utilities is a much different issue than not keeping up with HDD operations,” said Showley. “One is more of a long-term issue, while the other may be temporary and can be solved in different ways.”


Since potholing utilities is one of the first steps on a project, any delays can put a whole project behind. If your crews aren’t keeping up at that stage, you need to determine if it’s because of the number of utilities that need to be daylighted or if it’s because they don’t have the right vac for the job.

“Adding another vacuum excavator to get a project back on track doubles production, but if someone’s using the wrong machine for the job, usually doubling down isn’t the right approach,” explained Showley. “Instead, it’s better to get a different vacuum excavator on the job that can handle the workload without adding crew. So, if soil conditions are more challenging than the vac can handle, contractors should consider a bigger, more powerful one. And if it’s an access issue, they may want to consider either getting something smaller or getting a vacuum excavator equipped with a hydraulic boom.”

Handling drill slurry

Struggling to keep up with the HDD crew suctioning up drilling slurry is usually more of a temporary issue because of a jobsite’s proximity to the nearest dump site. If you’re in that situation, Showley recommends taking more of a long-term approach. “If cycle time is going to be an issue only on occasion, a contractor may be better off accepting that there will be some HDD downtime as they wait for the vacuum excavator to get back from dumping, or they should consider renting another unit,” he said. “Some contractors will even set up a temporary dump location closer to a jobsite so that they can get vacuum excavators back as quickly as possible. The slurry from the temporary location is then moved during off hours when HDD crews aren’t working, and there is less traffic on the road. These are a few options that contractors can consider, but they don’t adequately address a long-term issue.”

To decide if you have a short- or long-term issue, you need to sit down with your company’s forecasted list of work for the next few months and map out the location of the jobs and the distance to the closest dump site for each one. Keep in mind that distance isn’t the only factor; how long it takes to make a round trip from a job to the dump site in busy traffic also has to be considered. If the estimated time impedes on drilling production regularly, you need another vac.


If you’re doing large-diameter bores or working in tough ground conditions that require large volumes of drilling fluids, you may want to consider adding vacuum excavators to your fleet or upgrading to vacs with larger tank capacities. Also, if you have several crews working in an area and proximity to a dump location or dump fees are an issue, you may want to consider a fluid solidification system. The process of solidifying slurry can help reduce travel times and allow the material to be disposed of at a landfill.

If you have fleet management or vacuum excavator questions, contact your local Vermeer dealer or visit vactron.com and mclaughlinunderground.com.

Industrial Equipment Rental Store sees Value in Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavators

With 24 locations throughout Michigan and Indiana, MacAllister Rentals, the region’s authorized CAT Rental Store, rents, sells, and services a wide range of high-quality equipment from Caterpillar and over 50 other manufacturers. As a part of the Indiana-based and family-owned MacAllister Machinery, MacAllister Rentals has an impeccable reputation for supplying contractors with first class service, in-depth technical knowledge, and top-notch equipment including the Vermeer Vac-Tron Series trailer vacs.

Project Challenge

The team at MacAllister Rental wanted to offer customers with an effective soft excavation method that would deliver outstanding productivity safely. They were familiar with vacuum excavators but wanted to find an equipment partner that manufactured quality machines that were easy to operate and efficient to run.


MacAllister Rental added Vac-Tron vacs to its fleet eight years ago. Since then, rental demand for these machines has increased significantly, and the rental store has continued to grow its fleet of Vac-Tron vacs. “We feel that CAT is the leader in the hydraulic excavator industry and the Vac-Tron series trailer vac is an industry leader in the vacuum excavator industry, so it fits very well with what we are trying to accomplish,” said Dan Hickman, district sales manager.

According to Chad Brogan, a sales representative with MacAllister Rental, most of their customers use Vac-Tron vacs for precise excavation when conventional excavation is not able to be used. “We have also found other uses for the Vac-Tron vacs with construction and foundation cleanup after heavy rains. It was a no brainer to add it to our fleet because we want to provide the best solutions for our customers,” he added.


“Customers have commented that when they have these on their jobsites, they really have a vacuum, pressure washer, and an air compressor all built into one piece of equipment,” explained Hickman. “I can’t say it enough; contractors can be much more efficient using Vac-Tron vacs than other excavation methods when working around fiber optics, gas or water lines, as well as near foundations and wells. All that material gets sucked up into a self-contained unit, and they can dispose of it where they want to. Our customers get a cleaner jobsite, the job gets done faster with a lot fewer people, so it makes them money,” he concluded.

Vermeer MV Solutions is the new powerhouse in vacuum excavation technology and equipment. We’ve brought together two innovative leaders in the underground utility and soft-dig industries. Today, McLaughlin Group Inc. and Vac-Tron Equipment are one, giving you the power to leverage their combined technology, market expertise and production capabilities on jobsites all over the world. For more info visit Vactron.com or call 352-728-2222.

Vermeer Corporation Announces Acquisition of Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC


Press Release / Pella, Iowa – (Nov. 12, 2018) – Vermeer Corporation announced its purchase of Vac-Tron Equipment, LLC, and its plans to bring the Florida-based company together with McLaughlin Group, Inc. which was purchased by Vermeer in 2017. This acquisition and integration of the two companies builds on the Vermeer strategy to provide a comprehensive suite of vacuum excavation technology, equipment, training and support to the growing underground utility and soft dig markets.

Founded in 1997, Vac-Tron has grown to become a respected brand known for innovative, high-quality vacuum excavation products sold and serviced across underground utility markets. Headquartered in Okahumpka, FL, Vac-Tron offices and production facilities employ more than 100 people. For the last 13 years, Vac-Tron products have been sold almost exclusively through the Vermeer dealer network.

McLaughlin, a drill tooling and vacuum excavation company founded in 1921 and located in Greenville, South Carolina with more than 100 team members, brought nearly a century of industry knowledge into the Vermeer fold last year.

“This acquisition allows us to leverage the innovation, market expertise and production capabilities across our McLaughlin, Vac-Tron and Vermeer brands to meet increasing customer demand while giving our dealers a more efficient, single-point connection to a full product lineup. Coming together solidifies the long-term strategy and commitment to support customers and dealers in a unified way,” said Jason Andringa, Vermeer Corporation president and CEO.

Operating under the combined group Vermeer MV Solutions, the organization will continue to provide Vermeer-branded vacuum excavation equipment and technology through dedicated Vac-Tron and McLaughlin series product lines as well as McLaughlin branded utility accessories and auger boring systems.

Vermeer MV Solutions will operate under one combined leadership and sales team led by General Manager Dave Van Wyk. Leadership at both Vac-Tron and McLaughlin will come together and serve as a unified team, bringing the strengths and best practices together in the areas of innovation, design, manufacturing, sales and customer support. The Florida and South Carolina locations will continue production as they work together to meet the growing demand within the soft dig markets.

“We’ve been proud to have the Vermeer name on our equipment for the past 13 years. Now, we are proud to formally be a part of the Vermeer family. We look forward to investing with McLaughlin and Vermeer to deliver the technology and equipment our customers need as we provide the highest quality product for the customer,” said Tim Fischer, Vac-Tron president.

“When my son, Donnie, and I started Vac-Tron Equipment in our garage, we could not have imagined the crazy and wonderful ride God had in store for us. We are very excited to have Vermeer as the new owners. Knowing that they are a faith-based and family-owned company assures me that the Vac-Tron team is in good hands. We are now ready for the next big adventure,” said Don Buckner, founder of Vac-Tron Equipment.

About Vermeer

Vermeer Corporation delivers a real impact in a progressing world through the manufacture of high-quality underground construction, surface mining, tree care, environmental and agricultural equipment. With a reputation for durability and reliability, that equipment is backed by localized customer service and support provided by independent dealers around the world. To learn more about Vermeer Corporation, visit vermeer.com. To dig into the Vermeer story, visit vermeerimpact.com.

For more information, please contact:
Ryan Benbo – Sr. Marketing Director
Vermeer Corporation | O: (641) 621-8518
[email protected]

Underground Fire Protection Service In Texas Digs Vac-Tron

Hydro excavation and air vacuum excavation gives solutions to the most treacherous underground fire protection digging jobs. Here at Hughes Excavating, we love to have the latest equipment to provide the best service. As excavating and digging become increasingly difficult thanks to the never-ending lines of underground services, we see technological solutions coming to hand. The Vac Tron, an excavator like no other, saves Hughes and our customers time and money! Read Full Post

Luckily, we stumbled upon the versatile hydro excavator from Vac Tron, and it became the go-to-excavator for any tricky request or underground fire emergency.


UCT 2019 Will Feature Vac-Tron’s LP Hydro Vac

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Date: January 29-31, 2019
Booth # 705

Vermeer MV Solutions will be exhibiting the Vac-Tron Low Profile Series at the Underground Construction Technology in Fort Worth, Texas at Booth # 705 on January 29th -31st, 2019

The Vac-Tron Low Profile Series comes standard with 500 to 1200-gallon debris tank, 100 to 400-gallon water tanks capacities with 3500 psi @ 4 gpm, hydraulic rear door, the patented (Big Red) CVS filtration system, a reverse pressure system and a heavy-duty I-beam trailer with Dexter torsion axles.
The Vac-Tron Low Profile Series comes standard with 500 to 1200-gallon debris tank, 100 to 400-gallon water tanks capacities with 3500 psi @ 4 gpm, hydraulic rear door, the patented (Big Red) CVS filtration system, a reverse pressure system and a heavy-duty I-beam trailer with Dexter torsion axles.

Underground Utilities Event 2019 – Underground Construction Technology

Individuals representing water, sewer, gas, telecom and electric rely on UCT to learn about the latest techniques used in trenchless, open cut, new construction and pipe rehabilitation. Major academic and industry sponsors offer seminars before and during UCT. Nearly 200 exhibitors showcase equipment and technologies used to maintain the crumbling utility piping systems. Learn more: OCTonline.com

LP Series 873 SDT will be featured with boom

The Vac-Tron Low Profile Series comes standard with 500 to 1200-gallon debris tank, 100 to 400-gallon water tanks capacities with 3500 psi @ 4 gpm, hydraulic rear door, the patented (Big Red) CVS filtration system, a reverse pressure system and a heavy-duty I-beam trailer with Dexter torsion axles.

Hand built in the USA from the ground up including the durable trailer assembly, the low-profile trailer keeps the components of the unit easily accessible while making the unit safe to tow and a much smoother ride.

This series also offers the NEW 6-way hydraulic boom design or optional strong arm to maximize job performance by supporting the weight of the vacuum hose. The new design features increased boom length, full 6-way hydraulic function, 5” hose, curved end with oversized rollers, new wireless remote control, vacuum valve function operated from remote, wired harness, new remote storage location, forward stored boom in front of engine compartment, 330-degree swing, quick connect 4” tooling, easily connected additional section hose, water jet cleanout in boom, and easily accessible no tools needed cleanout port.

For more information on our Vac-Tron series or for a Free Demo call 1-888-Vac-Tron or visit vactron.com/equipment to learn more.


Oil Spill Containment Industry Leader Increases Efficiency with Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavators

VZ Environmental is an innovative leader in secondary drip and spill containment for the oil and gas industry. Carol Van Zandt, owner of VZ Environmental, was challenged by a customer to find a simple method to contain liquid spills in the oil and gas industry. Carol partnered with an equipment supplier to design a drive-over foam bermed containment membrane (VMatz™) to capture and dispose of drips and spills on oil and gas sites. They then utilize a Vac-Tron vacuum excavator to clean up the spill from the containment membrane for proper disposal. 

Today, VZ Environmental provides equipment nationwide, servicing areas in five states and have plans for further domestic and international expansion to continue to help oil and gas operators minimize their impact on the environment. 

Project Descriptions

VMatz are spill containments that VZ provides for oil and gas operators to minimize their impact on the environment. “Our customers use the VMatz to catch drips and spills while on location and then we come in to cleanup,” says Carol. VZ wanted to provide their own vacuum service to their customers as part of the cleanup process, so that the customer didn’t have to waste time and money calling out for a vacuum truck company and VZ environmental didn’t have to sit on location and wait for the vacuum truck to arrive before they could cleanup. 


Vac-Tron vacuum trailers for vacuum service and cleanup. “The Vac-Tron trailer helps us clean up our VMAtz by removing the fluid from our containments more efficiently and a lot faster. We are not sitting on location waiting on vacuum trucks to arrive. Prior to having Vac-Tron vacuum trailers in our fleet of equipment, we did not offer any type of vacuum service. Our customers had to order a vacuum truck to come help us remove the fluid when we were cleaning our Vmatz. Our Vac-Tron units come with 500-gallon debris tanks and 1,000 cfm which helps us pick up the rocks and sludge that our customers leave in our containments. This is a perfect size because its small and they can park it off to the side, then call upon it as needed,” says Carol. 


  • Saves customers time and money
  • Eliminates down time
  • Keeps environment safer

“With a Vac-Tron trailer, we can save our customers money through minimizing the number of trips that they have to call out a vacuum truck. When shopping for vacuum trailers, Vac-Tron is by far the best! Our machines, every time you turn them on, they are rip roaring to go. Our employees don’t have time to go through and try to figure out things, they want to flip it on and use it immediately and they want it to work. Vac-Tron does that for us every time,” says Carol.

Rock Underground Saves Time and Manpower with Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavator

Rock Underground, located in the city of Greenfield, MN, is an expert in utility work and exclusively uses Vac-Tron units for locating underground utilities.  “All we run is Vac-Tron, every crew we have runs a Vac-Tron model,” says Adam Rock, Founder of Rock Underground.

Project Descriptions

Potholing and locating underground utilities safely and efficiently. 


Vac-Tron’s LP 873 SDT vacuum excavator. Vacuum excavation is the best method of identifying the location and accurate depth of a utility. “Being in the utility business we have to pothole utilities all the time; whether it’s a gas line, fiber optic, telephone cable, we use a Vac-Tron vacuum excavator 90% of the time to verify utilities so we don’t hit them,” says Rock.

The low-profile trailers are hand built at the factory in Florida from the ground up keeping the components of the unit easily accessible while making the unit safe to tow and a much smoother ride. It also provides the best ground clearance in the industry for right of way maneuverability.

The LP SDT series is the top selling High CFM Diesel trailer for Vac-Tron. It includes a Yanmar 49 hp Tier 4 final diesel engine with 1,000 CFM vacuum blower for both wet/dry applications.

Rock said “I chose high CFM obviously for the capability of what it can do sucking up the dirt. Everybody can buy the water pressure, everybody can buy the blower, but the technology of the unit itself, the trailer setup, and the power it has, is why we choose Vac-Tron.”


  • Accurately and safely verifying underground utilities
  • Productivity increase
  • Efficiency with time and money
  • Being able to clean other equipment
  • Many other uses and applications…

With Vac-Tron vacuum excavators, companies have an alternative to hand digging and a safer way to expose utilities with both hydro and air excavation. “So, you take five guys on a jobsite and shovel all day, if something is 5 ft deep, it can take an hour to find one utility. With a Vac-Tron you can find it in 2 minutes and there you go, you don’t need 5 guys on one job, you can take 3 guys and a Vac-Tron and run a whole jobsite out in an hour versus a 4-hour day, so it’s more efficient. There are other benefits of using it too; you can clean the machines, wash off other equipment, we even use it for pulling mule string through existing pipes, little things like that that you don’t think you could use it for, but you can. I’ve owned Ditch Witch, Ring O Matic, McLaughlin and now we have 3 Vac-Tron in our stock and I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon. We LOVE the product, obviously that’s why we have converted to only Vac-Trons,” says Rock.  

“All we run is Vac-Tron, every crew we have runs a Vac-Tron model,” says Adam Rock, Founder of Rock Underground.

Vac-Tron’s LP (Low Profile) series is the premiere line of industrial vacuums and vacuum excavation equipment. Available with gas or diesel engines and high or low CFM. The LP Series starts with 300-gallon debris tanks and goes up to 1,200-gallon debris tanks. 

Vac-Tron units come standard with the patented (Big Red) CVS filtration system that is unmatched by competitors, a reverse pressure system, and a heavy-duty I-beam trailer with Dexter torsion axles. The low-profile trailers are hand built at the factory in Florida from the ground up keeping the components of the unit easily accessible while making the unit safe to tow and a much smoother ride. It also provides the best ground clearance in the industry for right of way maneuverability. 

For more info or for a FREE Demo visit www.vactron.com or call 1-888-VAC-TRON.

Zimmerer Kubota Finds Value with Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavators

Zimmerer Kubota & Equipment, Inc. has been serving its customers since 1979. With five locations in Texas including Cleburne, Decatur, Denton, Fort Worth, and Gainesville, they offer sales, parts, service, and rental at each of their stores. Zimmerer Kubota is known for offering their customers top quality products, including Vac-Tron Equipment vacuum excavators.

“We love our Vac-Tron, we love our Vermeer sales team that backs the product, and we won’t go anywhere else,” said Zimmerer.

Project Challenge:

Zimmerer Kubota wanted to purchase a piece of equipment to add to their fleet that their customers could use to do the job, safer and more efficiently, than having to rent two to three other pieces of equipment for the job. “Some of the criteria that we used when we were looking to purchase a Vac-Tron, or a machine-like Vac-Tron was the dealer and the product. We had already had dealings with the Vermeer company here in Dallas/Ft. Worth, so we knew what kind of parts and service they offer, what kind of attention to detail they had, and how good they would take care of us after the sale which was extremely important to us. Secondly, once we met the Vac-Tron team, we were even more impressed with the plant, the company, and the product and we have still been impressed now that we have been running it over a year.” Says Sam Zimmerer, Co-Owner and Vice President at Zimmerer Kubota.

Solution: A Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavator is Safer and More Efficient than Traditional Excavation

“We have been actively including Vac-Tron into our rental fleet for a little over a year; we started with one unit and it seemed like that unit was never here, always out, people would call and we were out, so we added a second, and then that unit was always out, and we added a third and will probably add a fourth here soon because it rents so well. There is no down time, it does its job, and it does it right the first time evidently because they keep coming back and renting it again.” says Zimmerer. Gentry added, “Using a hydro vac after we have had it in the rental fleet for a little bit definitely opened our customer’s eyes. Once they started using it and we started demoing it and letting them see what we could do, it was a lot more efficient than having to rent two or three other pieces of equipment, they can just use the one.
Vacuum Excavator Applications:


“ROI on these units are awesome. They perform well, our customers are very happy with the product, and they keep the maintenance cost down,” said Gentry. “We love our Vac-Tron, we love our Vermeer sales team that backs the product, and we won’t go anywhere else,” said Zimmerer.

  • Increased ROI
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Safer Equipment
  • Reduced Maintenance Costs
  • High Performance equipment

Check out the full video interview with Zimmerer Kubota. For more information on Vac-Tron Equipment and its full fleet of vacuum excavators, please visit them online at www.vactron.com or call 1-352-728-2222.

Vac-Tron Vacuum Excavators Increase Bottom Line For Texas First Rentals

A strong dealer support network combined with a safe and reliable product are yielding satisfied customers and increased revenue for Texas First Rentals, sister company to Holt Cat®, one of the Largest Caterpillar Dealers in the US. At Texas First, you can rent the Cat® equipment you’ve always trusted for your toughest jobs – plus a whole lot more: equipment from Genie®, JLG®, Sullair®, Wacker®, LayMor®, Vermeer®, and other top-notch manufacturers including Vac-Tron Equipment.

Project Challenge

Finding the perfect vacuum excavator and industrial vacuum equipment to add to the rental fleet. “The most important factors in determining what fleet we bought was the relationship we have with our dealer support network and the fact that we can utilize one model and maintain a commonality of parts.” said Colin Martin, District Manager of Texas First.


Vac-Tron Equipment vacuum excavators and industrial vacs. “We started buying the Vac-Tron machine when we initially started the company back in 2015. It’s a product that appears across all our stores, we have about 15 stores across the state of Texas,” said Martin. Michael Rutledge, Outside Sales Rep added,

“The rental return on investment (ROI) is how we are opening our doors every day and closing them at the end of the day. I think this product is really making that bottom line more effective,” added Rutledge.


Satisfied customers and satisfied company owners. “I hear probably weekly that our customers are very satisfied with the product. At this current location, there are three customers that currently use these Vac-Tron’s monthly, some even use them long term on a 3-6-month basis,” says Rutledge. “I would recommend these machines to others just for the ease of use, ease of maintenance, service ability concerns, and the return on investment,” says Martin. “The rental return on investment (ROI) is how we are opening our doors everyday and closing them at the end of the day. I think this product is really making that bottom line more effective,” added Rutledge.


New 6-way Hydraulic Boom Design

Vac-Tron Equipment is proud to announce the release of its new 6-way hydraulic boom design for its trailer vacuum excavation equipment and industrial vacuum equipment.

This hydraulic boom maximizes job performance by supporting the weight of the vacuum hose. The new design features increased boom length, full 6-way hydraulic function, 5” hose, curved end with oversized rollers, new wireless remote control, vacuum valve function operated from remote, wired harness, new remote storage location, forward stored boom in front of engine compartment, 330-degree swing, quick connect 4” tooling, easily connected additional section hose, water jet cleanout in boom, and easily accessible no tools needed cleanout port.

For more information on the boom or Vac-Tron’s equipment visit vactron.com or call 1-352-728-2222.

Vac-Tron, the industry leader in vacuum excavation equipment and industrial vacuum equipment. We got your VAC!

The Story of Vac-Tron

Don Buckner, Founder, shares details of the early days of Vac-Tron, including the very first unit he welded together in his garage.  He talks about the struggles that building a company goes through.  Don also shares the feeling you get when you see something you created being used over 20 years later worldwide.

Today, Vac-Tron is expanding its manufacturing facilities as it handles continued record-breaking growth in the vacuum excavation industry.

How ECHO Utility Engineering and Surveying Benefits From Vacuum Excavation

ECHO Utility Engineering and Surveying focuses on a specific aspect of Utility Engineering: Subsurface Utility Engineering.

Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) refers to a branch of engineering that involves managing certain risks associated with utility mapping at appropriate quality levels, utility coordination, utility relocation design and coordination, utility condition assessment, communication of utility data to concerned parties, utility relocation cost estimates, implementation of utility accommodation policies, and utility design.

ECHO purchased a Vac-Tron AIR 373 SDT vacuum excavator in 2017 and shared the benefits this unit has created for the facilities.

Project Description

Locating existing subsurface utility data.


Vac-Tron Low Profile AIR 373 SDT unit with customized accessories. This unit is powered by an 83 HP Yanmar diesel engine that delivers unmatched power and performance. Hand built in the USA from the ground up including the durable I-Beam trailer assembly. The low profile trailer keeps the components of the unit easily accessible while making the unit safe to tow and a much smoother ride. The AIR unit comes equipped with a hydraulic rear door, which opens fully so the operator can completely empty the contents. For operator safety, the door is controlled by push buttons located on the side of the unit. The AIR unit offers the patented filtration system with 0.5-micron filtration that is unmatched by competitors. It also comes standard with a reverse pressure system and a heavy-duty trailer with Dexter torsion axles.


ECHO has been using the Vac-Tron AIR unit for over a year now. The main efficiency has been getting into tight places and safely onto curbs with the Low Profile unit. “It allows us to get to projects that we normally wouldn’t be able to do,” says President of ECHO UES, Jerry Comellas. “One of the projects we worked on was in a covered garage and if it wasn’t for this unit there is no way we could have accomplished the project because of the low clearances. This was a $48,000 project and is revenue that we wouldn’t have been able to have otherwise.”

“Vac-Tron’s customer service has been outstanding, getting us set up quickly, as our business works really fast, and catering to some of the refinements we made on the unit made it a pleasure to work with Vac-Tron,” Jerry concluded.

Check out the full interview with ECHO and video footage of the unit in action.


Just Released: CS 1270 Vacuum Excavator w/ video

Vac-Tron Equipment has released their new CS 1270 trailer vac. This new Compact Industrial Vac Series comes standard with a 1200-gallon debris tank and 580 or 1,000 cfm. It is also available with a hydraulic operated opening and locking rear door, wet/dry filtration cyclone, 30’ x 3” suction hose and tool, and 27 HP or 37 HP Kohler gas engine. Options include 24 HP Kohler diesel engine and reverse pressure.

It is ideal for drill slurry cleanup as well as other projects that call for slurry removal. With the optional reverse pressure, you can collect the slurry, transport, and offload it into another container or simply open the rear door and dump the material quickly.

For more information about the CS 1270 GT or SGT model, contact Vac-Tron Equipment at 888-822-8766 to request a free demo.

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