Vacuum Excavators Help Expose Hidden Utilities and Avoid Damage

Before breaking ground on a new project, it’s important to know what buried utilities are hiding underground. Services such as One-Call are a great starting point at identifying a utility’s location, but they are not foolproof. Vacuum excavators, on the other hand, can be essential to your fleet, helping to expose utilities so you don’t cause serious and costly damage.

Vacuum excavation technology has been around in some shape or form since the 1950s. Vacuum hoses are often seen around work areas suctioning the earth to expose a utility in a fast, safe and surgical manner. Operators can safely identify and positively locate a utility — avoiding the potential of damaging it during a dig.

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Over the next several pages, vacuum excavator manufacturers provide their histories, summaries and specs for their product lines. Take a look at these machines and consider the benefits they offer when keeping crews safe on the job and utilities in working order.

MEGA Vacs Fill the Gap Between Small Trailer Models and Large Truck-Mounted Units

For more than 90 years, McLaughlin has developed a reputation for designing and building dependable, low maintenance trenchless solutions for the power, gas, telecom, water, sewer and oil markets. Today, the company offers a full line of utility locators and vacuum excavators for safely finding and exposing existing infrastructure, as well as a number of other trenchless installation products. McLaughlin manufactures Hole Hammer pneumatic piercing tools, Mighty Moles and pit launch directional drills for trenchless installation of conduit, cable and HDPE pipes. In addition, McLaughlin has a full line up of auger boring machines and 360-degree On-Target steering systems for installation of steel casing.

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Currently, McLaughlin manufactures vacuum excavators with spoil tank capacities ranging from 250 gal up to 3,000 gal to provide the right solutions for contractors’ applications.

McLaughlinFirst Up:

Product Spotlight: MEGA VX200

Recently, McLaughlin expanded its product offerings to include the MEGAVX200 6-in. excavator series, with spoil tank options ranging from 1,200to 3,000 gal and a standard option of 800 gal of fresh water. It has a6-in. hose diameter with a 3,200-cfm blower at 18 in. of mercury.McLaughlin launched the MEGA VX200 6-in. series after listening tocustomers who said they wanted a vacuum excavator that fills the gapbetween smaller trailer-mounted vacuum excavators and the largesttruck-mounted units.

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McLaughlin vacuum excavators feature a three-stage cyclonic filtrationsystem that allows for both wet and dry vacuum excavation whileprolonging filter life and helping keep maintenance costs low.McLaughlin’s patented cam-over hydraulic rear door provides a 360-degreepositive seal, without additional clamping requirements to keep fluidssecurely in the debris tank. When the job is done, the patented in-tankwash down system makes it easier to remove debris and saves contractorstank cleanup time.


“It’s important to perform routine maintenance on all towing andtransportation equipment,” says Jeff Wage, Vice President of McLaughlin.“Regular inspection of the brakes on a trailer hauling the excavationunit is important for both safety and fleet maintenance. Weightdistribution is crucial when towing vacuum excavation trailers. Havingaxles equally loaded and at proper hitch height is critical to thelongevity of tires, axles, as well as the trailers themselves.”

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MEGA VX200 Specs

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