New ECO Series machines provide a more efficient platform for vacuum excavation in tight spaces.


Vacuum excavation continues to grow in prevalence and popularity, but huge hydroexcavators and jet/vac trucks aren’t always able to get into all the tight spaces municipal utility crews need to work.

Vermeer by McLaughlin has addressed the need for smaller yet fully equipped and completely capable machines with the ECO Series of vacuum excavators. The skid-mounted vacuum excavation units can also be equipped for sewer cleaning work and are built for easy installation on both new and used truck chassis — even all-terrain vehicles for more remote work.

Everything is designed around the goal of efficiency.

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Municipal Sewer & Water talked to Jake Jeffords, regional sales manager at McLaughlin, about the new series of excavators.

MSW: What was the philosophy in developing this series of vacuum excavators?

Jeffords: The ECO Series gives an owner/operator the ability to utilize a proven truck-mounted vacuum excavator that also delivers fuel savings of more than 50 percent compared to PTO-powered options in certain applications. The ECO Series also features lower maintenance costs compared to truck engine service and the versatility to mount on new or used truck chassis or on off-road crawler carriers.

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MSW: Is Vermeer (McLaughlin) trying to establish a larger footprint in the municipal market?

Jeffords: The municipal market has been key to our success over the years. The ECO Series is just one component of the full lineup of McLaughlin vacuum excavators. This variety allows our company to meet the many needs of all our customers.

MSW: What are the advantages of a smaller truck-mounted unit?

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Jeffords: Smaller truck-mounted vacuum excavators not only have the ability to work in tighter spaces but also give owners the flexibility of hiring drivers without a commercial driver’s license when they adhere to spoil weight regulations.  

MSW: What specific types of tasks is this unit designed to tackle?

Jeffords: The ECO Series is effective in all the same tasks/markets as its trailer-vac counterpart. It serves the utility market, in particular, by providing a productive way to safely dig around and expose existing utilities.

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MSW: Was the design driven more by excavating functions or sewer cleaning capabilities?

Jeffords: The ECO Series was designed with utility work in mind. We know this market needs a compact vacuum excavation system that focuses on performance and improved fuel efficiency.

MSW: Why put a skid-mounted unit on a truck instead of building the whole unit directly on the truck chassis?

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Jeffords: The ECO Series has great versatility since the entire skid can be mounted to many different chassis. This gives a customer the ability to mount an ECO Series vac to a new truck, a used truck they currently have in their fleet, or even to a nonstandard all-terrain vehicle for pipeline work.

MSW: How are the units spec’d out?

Jeffords: 1,025 cfm with 15 inches of Hg, the patented cam-over hydraulic rear door, the three-stage cyclonic filtration system, and the in-tank washdown system and auto belt tensioners. There is also the option to select the hydraulic boom.

MSW: What features set this series of vacuum excavators apart?

Jeffords: It has a proven power system that uses a pony motor package that doesn’t rely on a truck’s PTO drive for power. The Kubota 49 hp (36.5 kW) diesel engine burns 50 percent less fuel per hour than a 270 hp (149.2 kW) diesel truck engine, which can yield up to $13,000 per year in fuel savings. The Kubota engine delivers constant power to the vacuum excavator, versus the lower, intermittent power provided by a truck PTO drive. And it only requires routine maintenance every 400 hours, compared to diesel truck engines with service intervals every 125 hours.

MSW: What jetting equipment is included if people choose that option?

Jeffords: Customers can pick between a 12 gpm or 18 gpm sewer jetter. If this option is chosen, the machine is equipped with 500 feet of 1/2-inch jetting hose, a lead section and one standard nozzle.

MSW: Is there room for an onboard freshwater tank?

Jeffords: Yes. Freshwater is standard on all ECO Series vacuum excavator units.

MSW: How do each of the units in the ECO Series differ?

Jeffords: The primary differentiating factor for each of the ECO Series models is horsepower range.

  • ECO50 Series has a 49 hp (37 kW) diesel engine
  • ECO80 Series has an 85 hp (63 kW) diesel engine
  • ECO100 Series has a 99 hp (74 kW) diesel engine

There is also the ability to add a sewer jetter on the ECO80 and to add air excavation on the ECO100.

MSW: How will municipal utilities benefit from owning one of these units instead of or in addition to a larger jet/vac truck?

Jeffords: The ECO Series gives municipal utilities the ability to operate an efficient piece of equipment in compact areas. With certain configurations, there is no need for a commercial driver’s license (depending on spoil tank size and GVWR of truck). This gives them the ability to expand the performance of their utility locating process while keeping operating costs low.


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