The iVac - Revolutionising the Method of Soil Excavation in the Utilities Sector
PSS HIRE has developed the iVac - a state-of-the-art machine which has truly revolutionised the method of soil excavation in the utilities sector.
What is the iVac?
TheiVac is a remote-controlled, compact track mounted Suction Excavator which is specially designed for use in projects which involve sensitive service excavations that are limited in size or difficult to access, such as off road locations, fields or in built-up areas where other excavators simply cannot cope, such as narrow passages.
It presents a high tech alternative to the use of standard 26 tonne Vacuum or Suction Excavators which have a typical footprint of 8m x 2.4m. By comparison, the iVac weighs just 2.7 tonnes and has a footprint of only 2m x 1.6m which means it is much more mobile and can be used in many areas which would have otherwise proved inaccessible. Typical applications for the iVac include cable and pipeline repair and underground construction work involving buried lines.
Health and Safety Benefits
The iVac utilises non-invasive suction technology, presenting a safe, cost-effective and efficient alternative to the traditional methods of mechanical excavation or hand digging with forks and shovels. It avoids the risk of cable strikes altogether by ensuring a ‘right first time approach’.
Although responsible contractors try to locate underground utilities before excavation work, errors can still be made and the results can potentially be catastrophic. In the case of mechanical excavation, damage can be caused to cables by equipment such as Mini Diggers and damaged underground cables can be potentially hazardous. The traditional alternative is hand-digging but this requires extra physical effort by operatives and potentially has very serious safety risks if operatives manually strike a cable. With the iVac there is no absolutely no need for labour intensive manual excavation work and no operative entry is required into excavations.
How the iVac Works
The iVac works by loosening the earth to be removed via an air lance and the high volume suction power pulls debris out of the ground and discharges it into a receiving container. The ‘sucked up’ material is conveyed into the container and gravity causes the excavated material to settle. The air stream then passes through two separation chambers in which a change in both velocity and the direction of the air current takes place, allowing further separation from the air flow. Further downstream there is a fine filter unit that removes dust particles down to just 5 microns. A bag collection system is available to allow the spoil to be tipped into cubic metre bags, meaning that the iVac does not need to leave the site to tip, thus improving environmental efficiency and ensuring significant cost savings.
The iVac has been welcomed by the utilities industry for its ability to deliver high powered suction excavation and its speed, versatility, safety around services and capacity to minimise disruption, run off and dirt from excavation works.