Contractors around the world face various jobsite conditions that require innovative solutions. From space constraints, to traffic management, to inclement weather – regardless productivity on the job is paramount. This is why a contractor in Spain teamed up a Vermeer 550TX Micro Trencher with a Vermeer Vacuum Excavator by McLaughlin to increase productivity and decrease traffic disruptions.

Keeping Traffic Flowing

Located near Barcelona is the city of Can Palau, Catalunia; this little town in Spain is jumping on the fiber boom trend. An innovative contractor took a unique approach to installing 24km of fiber on a narrow road by using the Vermeer RTX550 Trencher and a Vermeer ECO70 Vacuum Excavator built by McLaughlin. These products combined allow for a clean, compact fast method for installing fiber optic cables called microtrenching. Compared to open cut or conventional trenching methods, mictrotrenching provides contractors a less disruptive option with reduced excavation, hauling, and compaction costs, and significantly less disturbance to traffic patterns.

Project Scope

The scope of the project entailed a narrow road and the need to install 24 km of fiber through the asphalt, road bed and stony soil. The ECO70 Vacuum Excavator with 1025 CFM and 4” suction hose mounts quickly and easily to a variety of truck chassis; this one in particular was modified for mictrotrenching. To accommodate the high rate of dry and small particulate materials the excavator was customized featuring a misting ring and cyclone trays were added to the standard 3 Stage Cyclonic filtration system. This allowed the vacuum excavator to wet the material as it entered the Vacuum at a rate of 5 gallons per hour spraying a mist of water into the air steam. Light dust materials that are not captured in the tank are removed in the cyclones then the cyclone trays are used for easy removal and clean disposal of the material.

trencher vac hook up


misting ring

The 24km of fiber was placed in a trench that was 14” deep by 1.75” wide with production ranging between 4 to 7 feet per minute. Two trials were conducted one with and one without the ECO70 to determine the effect on productivity.

  • 300 mm x 50 mm rock wheel setup – without vac. Productivity – 16 sec/ m.
  • 400 mm x 50 mm rock wheel setup – with vac. Productivity – between 20-25 sec/m.

trencher no vac
trencher with vac







During the trail where the ECO70 was used a clean trench resulted along with increased production.









Equipped for Success

The combined effort of a Vermeer RTX550 trencher and a McLaughlin ECO70-500 vacuum excavator provided a fast, less disruptive solution in Spain. The trails conducted were a pilot project set to start in the beginning of September that once successfully completed could potentially spread to surrounding municipalities for future projects to follow. Vacuum Excavation applications are continually expanding; these multipurpose machines are built tough and available in a variety of sizes with custom features to provide you the solution for your next jobsite – which is why every contractor should have one handy in their fleet.

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