Excavation Systems and How They Work

This non-destructive excavation method works great for safely digging around underground utility lines such as water, cable, and sewage pipes. Because it works by vacuum, no moving parts come in contact with the pre-existing underground utilities, reducing the chance of damage.

Level Ground Excavation is a safer, more precise way to dig around underground pipes and cables. The process uses pressurized water to break up the soil, and then industrial vacuums remove it from the site. This allows contractors to safely uncover and locate underground utilities, including fiber optic lines, without damaging them or putting workers in danger. It’s also less expensive than traditional digging methods.


Unlike mechanical excavation, which involves sharp claws that can damage pipes or sewer lines, a hydro-vac truck mounts a powerful water jet to penetrate the ground, loosening the dirt and turning it into a slurry. The slurry is then vacuumed up by the truck’s powerful system into a debris tank. This method also cuts down on the amount of time spent removing, transporting and repairing the dirt that is dug up by the excavation equipment.

Additionally, hydro-vac trucks can work year-round and in freezing temperatures. This streamlined process is more effective and enables crews to complete projects on or ahead of schedule.

In addition to its safety benefits, hydro excavation can significantly reduce project costs. Because it doesn’t require specialized tools and machinery to dig, it can be done at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, it is much faster than traditional excavation and doesn’t disrupt traffic or pedestrian pathways, making it a more desirable option for working in heavily populated areas.

Another advantage of the hydro-vac truck is that it can easily reach difficult-to-reach areas where a mechanical digger wouldn’t be able to. This includes the area surrounding pilings, which are steel-concrete composite or timber cross-section columns that anchor tall buildings to solid layers of earth. A hydro-vac truck can dig around pilings with ease, and it’s even possible to install and remove them.

A hydraulic excavator operates by forcing hydraulic fluid, similar to light oil, into cylinders with pistons. The force pushes the piston up, moving whatever piece of equipment attached to the end of the piston is moved in the same direction. A series of control valves act like the brain of the machine, directing the flow of hydraulic fluid to different parts of the hydraulic system.

A typical hydraulic excavator has an undercarriage, house and arm, with a boom and bucket attached to the arm. The bucket is a large steel attachment with teeth-like edges that allow the excavator to dig and scoop material. Depending on the job, the excavator may also have an auger attachment that bores into the ground or a breaker or cutter that can break apart tough surfaces like rock or concrete.

Other attachments that can be attached to an excavator include a rake, mower or brush cutter that breaks down vegetation and mulches it. Some of these require more hydraulic pressure or flow than others, which helps determine the size of an excavator that is needed for a particular task.

While an excavator is generally a large and heavy piece of equipment, smaller versions do exist. These mini-excavators are stealing market share from backhoes, since they offer more versatility in tight spaces. Some are available with zero-tail swing, which means the housing of the excavator stays inside its tracks when slewing.

A wheeled excavator is much lighter than a track-type excavator, and it can run on roads and other hard surfaces where the tracks would damage the surface. A bulldozer-like blade is often attached to the rear of a wheeled excavator, and it can be used to level or push dirt back into the hole as you dig.

While the backhoe and excavator both serve a vital function on construction sites, it’s important to decide which is right for you. There are three primary factors to consider when choosing the right machine: size, rotation range and versatility.

Backhoes are made from a tractor base that supports a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. The section of the arm closest to the vehicle is called the boom, while the portion that carries the bucket is known as the dipper.

This type of heavy equipment can be used for excavation, loading and trenching, as well as dumping, and is particularly well-suited for farming applications. In addition to its digging capabilities, the backhoe can also be fitted with a front loader attachment, which allows it to move heavier objects and materials.

A backhoe digger can be used to dig in tight spaces, and can also be equipped with a variety of attachments such as a breaker, grapple or auger. It is often used in combination with loaders and bulldozers to achieve a wide variety of tasks on a construction site.

While there are many advantages to using a backhoe, it’s important to keep in mind that it is more difficult to maneuver than an excavator. For this reason, if you have limited space available on your work site, an excavator may be a better choice. Another consideration is the noise level, as a backhoe can produce a lot of noise and is not ideal for indoor environments. However, if your work site has rough terrain or a large amount of heavy lifting, a backhoe may be the perfect choice for you.

A bucket digger is a piece of equipment that allows an excavator to scoop up earth from the ground and transport it to another location. It’s attached to the excavator’s arm and controlled by its operator inside the cabin. Diggers are typically equipped with a range of different bucket types, each of which is designed for a specific type of excavation work.

Digging buckets have teeth that allow them to penetrate tougher, more compact surfaces. They come in a variety of widths so that operators can choose the size that best suits their application.

Tilting buckets have no teeth and help with grading and levelling by allowing the operator to tilt the bucket to create slopes and back-fill holes. These buckets are popular for landscaping, road construction and utility work.

Rock buckets are more aggressive and have extra durable teeth that give them the ability to dig through severe rock. They’re a popular choice for mining operations.

Frost buckets are more advanced versions of the rock bucket that can break up extremely hard, compact surfaces like ice and frozen soil. This bucket is ideal for mountainous and cold climates where the ground frequently freezes.

Skeletons buckets have a slotted back and narrow tines along the front edge of the bucket that allow it to rake roots, brush and smaller rocks from the ground. The bucket also has a shell design that makes it easier to fit in confined spaces like tunnels.

Riddle buckets have a similar design to the skeleton bucket but with a more shallow shell that allows small soil particles to pass through. This bucket is a good option for excavating trenches and removing stumps and larger debris.

Using a trench digger is much faster and more cost-efficient than digging a trench by hand. It can also be more comfortable for your workers, reducing back injuries. Trenchers come in multiple sizes and can dig at a variety of depths and widths. They can be equipped with a wide variety of tools to suit the job at hand. For example, you can use a ripper/bucket combination.

Wheel trenchers—also called rock wheels—feature a toothed metal wheel that can cut at varying depths through hard soil, pavement, and concrete. These are great for cutting narrow and deep trenches for utility companies. They can even be equipped with spacers and ejectors that push excavated materials to the side.

A chain trencher—like a giant chainsaw—has a digging belt fitted with chains and can cut into a variety of different types of soil. They’re best for trenches that need to be cut through rocky terrain or other difficult conditions.

According to Komatsu, excavators are better suited for larger projects and are more versatile than trenchers. They can work in all kinds of terrain, dig sloped trenches, and handle larger pipes and cables. They’re also ideal for excavation in type A, B, and C soils.

One large trencher can replace up to 15 excavators, saving you money and space at the construction site. They’re also more efficient than hand-digging, resulting in lower production costs per cubic meter of excavation.