Excavators are often the go-to piece of equipment for traditional excavation work, and some contractors wouldn’t think of using anything else when it comes to digging trenches and holes. However, implementing a quality piece of purpose-built machinery such as a trencher is often beneficial, leading to greater efficiency, cost savings and safety outcomes.

Excavators have a variety of applications, from material handling and demolition, to dredging and digging trenches. But while a multi-use piece of heavy machinery can certainly come in handy on some job sites, excavators’ awkward size and lack of accuracy for specific tasks can leave contractors needing something more.

While excavators are widely used and have their place for some construction applications, it is crucial for organisations to consider the impact that alternate machinery, such as a trencher, could have on project outcomes.

With walk-behind, ride-on and track trenchers available, trenchers suit a wide variety of sites and tasks. According to Vermeer Australia’s General Manager of Sales, Jeff Lawson, choosing a trencher over an excavator for site work can have significant advantages, providing stability and accuracy that generally excavators cannot offer.

Consider your terrain

The ability to handle different types of terrain and materials is one major reason that a trencher may be preferable to an excavator.

Trenchers are capable of working with rock or tightly cemented soils in deeper trenches and can accurately cut through terrain, leaving smooth edges that are important for wall stability.

“With a trencher, the width of a trench is always consistent. It moves less material than an excavator due to the width of the trench, but this also means it can be more accurate and leave walls that are cleanly cut,” Mr Lawson said.

This type of accuracy and stability is crucial to large-scale projects such as Australia’s major pipeline networks.

Vermeer’s track trencher technology has been used on these pipelines, cutting through hard rock to prepare for installation, with machines such as the T755 Commander 3 trencher offering an accurate and efficient trenching solution.

“The T755 is built for long distances and heavy rock conditions, and stands firm with up to 27,215 kilos of tractive force on the ground. It also has an optional sectionalised boom with less tooth wear and reduced vibrations,” Mr Lawson said.

Ride-on trenchers can also be a good option for cutting through tough rock and concrete. These are usually trencher attachments for ride-on utility tractors, making it the perfect solution for challenging ground conditions.

“Vermeer’s rockwheels cut through rock, concrete and other tough surfaces easily, giving you clean, straight-sided trenches. The versatility of these machines is second to none, which is enhanced further with the addition of diverse attachments such as backhoes and backfill blades,” Mr Lawson said.

“Our ride-on trenchers have proven invaluable in mid-sized utility installations, as well as for large irrigation installation projects.”

Selecting quality machinery that ultimately offers lower lifecycle costs will provide greater peace of mind for the operator and enhance the contractor’s reputation, while helping organisations deliver projects on time and to budget by minimising downtime.

“Vermeer’s quality, purpose-built trenchers are built to last, utilising more than 70 years of engineering experience. Our dealer network also offers Australia-wide support for trenchers when it comes to parts and servicing, and is unmatched in the region,” Mr Lawson said.

“And the recent incorporation of Vermeer Australia into RDO Australia Group represents a significant expansion of our dealer network, with a growing list of branches that now number 18 nationally.”

The three core brands under the RDO Australia Group umbrella are Vermeer Australia, RDO Equipment and Vanderfield.

RDO Equipment was appointed John Deere Construction and Forestry dealer for all Australian states apart from Western Australia in 2019, while Vanderfield is a dealership group operating in Queensland and Northern Australia that offers John Deere’s range of agricultural and turf products, as well as Hino Trucks.

Identify health and safety risks

One important consideration in selecting the right piece of machinery for a job is site access. Large-scale heavy machinery such as excavators can be difficult to manoeuvre into tight spaces, making trenchers a more viable option at times.

“Walk-behind trenchers such as Vermeer’s RTX130, RTX200 and RTX250 pedestrian trenchers are the perfect solution for tight spaces. They make a great option for small-scale utility installations and irrigation projects where job site access is restricted,” Mr Lawson said.

According to Safe Work Australia, there are several risks associated with excavation work, making it critical to select the right machinery for the job.

Health and safety risks associated with excavation work include falling on uneven surfaces or the fall or dislodgement of earth or rock. Excavating equipment is known to create rough walls and debris that can pose these kinds of risks to workers onsite.

Unlike excavators, Vermeer’s range of trenchers create smooth, sturdy walls, and spoil is stacked consistently and away from the edge of the trench, reducing the risks associated with uneven or weak ground surfaces near the trench walls.

Sourcing equipment that fits the bill can be challenging, and requires the right information and insights. Vermeer’s team of product specialists have the industry knowledge and practical application experience to assist you.

Visit vermeer.com.au or call 1300VERMEER to learn more about its range of trenchers or to speak with a product specialist about the unique needs of your operation.

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