McLaughlin MEGA Vacs help drilling contractors stay on the job longer.

For underground drilling contractors, what matters most is getting product into the ground safely and efficiently, yet quickly. The sooner a project is finished, the sooner the next one can COL_7414 webbegin, and the next, which is the name of the game. So it goes without saying that the more time a contractor spends actually drilling, the sooner he will finish. When it comes to drill rigs, bigger isn’t necessarily better; however, with vacuum excavators on the jobsite, bigger can be better — and faster.

“We are seeing a niche market for larger-capacity vacuum excavators,” says Jeff Wage, vice president, McLaughlin Group. “The extra capacity goes to productivity and efficiency. Lost time is lost revenue. Contractors are looking to stay on the jobsite as long as possible and not have to stop multiple times a day in order to dump the vac.”

McLaughlin manufactures a full line of vacuum excavators with capacities ranging from 250 to 3,000 gallons. Wage says he has definitely seen the trend to larger capacity vacuum excavators.

“We are seeing customers who operate medium- to large-size drills opting for larger vacs in order to effectively manage the drilling fluid,” Wage says. “For example, a 36,000-pound rig has a mud pump that can generate 70 gallons per minute of drilling fluid. If that contractor has an 800-gallon trailer vac, the tank can fill up several times on a long shot or larger diameter shot before the bore is complete — halting production on the jobsite and requiring the drill to stand by while the vac is taken to an approved location to dispose of the fluids.

“Having a vac fill up midday or mid-bore can lead to downtime on the bore from 20 minutes to one hour on average. This leads to wasted resources and idle manpower on jobsites every day.  Large-capacity vacuum excavators with increased capacity spoil tanks and more on-board fresh water improve productivity on the jobsite,” Wage says.

Vermeer by McLaughlin MEGA Vac

McLaughlin’s MEGA VAC line of vacuum excavators features truck-mounted units having the ability to arrive on a jobsite, pothole for existing utilities and then remove drilling fluids from larger and longer bore projects. The MEGA 2000 skid-mounted vacuum excavator has a 99-horsepower Kubota diesel engine with a 1,200-cfm blower and features a 2,000-gallon spoil tank and 925 gallons of fresh water to ensure you have the power and capacity required.

The MEGA 2600 skid-mounted vacuum excavator is designed for fluid management and HDD support for up to D100x120 class rigs and maxi-rig jobs. The Mega 2600 is typically paired with PP100XT DEEP powerpack providing additional suction power with the 23 inches of mercury DEEP blower for increased fluid management capabilities. The MEGA 2600 also features 300 gallons of fresh water, making it a versatile potholing unit when needed.

Proof is in the mud

South East Queensland Underroad Drillers (SEQUD) is always prepared.  SEQUD is based in Queensland, Australia, and specializes in underground installations using horizontal directional drilling, auger boring and pipe ramming.

The company recently purchased a McLaughlin 1200-gallon vacuum excavator to help dispose of excess mud from its HDD projects and pothole for existing utilities prior to beginning any underground work. The unit also is used to help reclaim mud when a return line cannot be used on a project due to access issues. In these cases, the mud is collected in the MEGA VAC and transported back to the reclaimer for processing.

“When working in or near the bushland — a wooded and generally dry area that includes thin to thick woody shrubs and bushes — in Australia we take additional steps to help alleviate environmental concerns,” says Taylor. “By using the McLaughlin MEGA VAC, we can help ensure the site remains environmentally friendly and we can reduce overall costs for our company.”

SEQUD no longer uses a subcontractor for this type of work and now contracts with other companies to provide potholing, site cleanup, and conduit installations for other companies; it’s helped create a new revenue stream for the company.

Taylor selected the MEGA VAC based on McLaughlin’s reputation in the industry; plus the unit had the features and specifications he desired.

The MEGA VAC fits on a single-axle 15-ton truck body. “That was important to our company from a cost and licensing standpoint,” says Taylor.

The MEGA VAC was put to good use recently on an electrical conduit installation project in the bushland near Noosa along the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

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