Vac-Con Experts Explain X-Cavator’s Role in the Hydroexcavation Field

Vac-Con Experts Explain X-Cavator’s Role in the Hydroexcavation Field
Figure 1. Fan or positive displacement blower types of vacuum systems are available on the Vac-Con X-Cavator.

Interested in Trucks?

Get Trucks articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Trucks + Get Alerts

While hydroexcavation only started gaining interest with contractors and municipalities in the U.S. about 15 years ago, it has been popular in Canada for about 50 years. Hydroexcavation offers a safe and easy alternative to other digging methods, and different packages allow for a variety of applications. 

Vac-Con, manufacturer of custom-built, truck-mounted combination machines and hydroexcavators, offers a great selection of units with powerful vacuum and water system functions. 

Vac-Con Marketing Director Tom Jody, National Service Manager Mike Selby, and Hydroexcavator Product Manager Mike Pellechia talked about the role of hydroexcavation in today’s industry and the benefits and features of the company’s X-Cavator in an interview for Municipal Sewer & Water. 

Q: How long has Vac-Con been making the X-Cavator?

A: Vac-Con has been building hydroexcavators since 1994. 

Q: How long have contractors in Canada been primarily using hydroexcavators?

A: Canadian contractors began using hydroexcavators in the early 1960s (about 50 years ago).

Q: What percentage of Canadians use hydroexcavation over other digging methods?

A: About 80 percent of Canadian Industrial contractors and about 50 percent of Canadian General Contractors use hydroexcavation in one form or another. 

Q: What percentage of Americans use hydroexcavation over other digging methods?

A: Not enough, but about 10 percent of American contractors use hydroexcavators, the vast majority being in the petroleum industries. 

Q: Why is hydroexcavation so much safer than other digging methods?

A: Hydroexcavation is a non-mechanical, non-destructive way of safely exposing buried utilities. The process allows workers to stay on the surface (out of the excavation), thus eliminating accidental line damage or trench cave-ins. Additionally, the risk/cost factor over a long period of time generally supports hydroexcavation over hand-digging or mechanical means. 

Q: What makes the Vac-Con X-Cavator so much better?

A: 1) Built to suit applications

  • The X-Cavator is capable of operating in virtually all excavation applications based on versatility through available features.

     2) Innovative industry leading features

  • Such as the choice of front or rear-mounted boom, PowerFlex Boom, Hi-Dump, Positive Displacement or Centrifugal Compressor, and a broad list of additional options give the X-Cavator unmatched versatility.

     3) Service

  • A worldwide network of factory-trained dealers gives the depth of service necessary in today’s fast-moving business environment. 

Q: How effective is the hydroexcavation package on the combination machine compared to the X-Cavator?

A: The hydroexcavation package is just as effective as an X-Cavator. However, there are laws that prohibit cross-contamination of sanitary sewer and excavated soils therefore an X-Cavator would be beneficial. 

Q: What is the difference between the front-mounted and rear-mounted boom?

A: The retracted length of the front-mounted boom is 15.83 inches from the rotational pivot to the center of the 8-inch opening on the elbow. It also has a 10-foot telescopic boom section. Added together you have 25.83 feet from the center of the truck or 21.83 feet from the side of the truck. 

The front-mounted boom allows for 270-degree rotation. The rear-mounted boom has a 315-degree rotation and fully extended, reaches about 28.5 feet from the center of the rotational pivot to the rear and 24.5 feet from the side. 

Q: What is the storage capacity of the Vac-Con X-Cavator?


  • Storage box behind the cab (16” x 42” x 96”)
  • Single axle units – driver’s side storage cabinet (51” x 24” x 24”)
  • Tandem axle units – driver’s side storage cabinet (51” x 44” x 24”)
  • Tandem axle units – storage box behind cab (16” x 42” x 48”) 

Q: What is the water system capacity of the X-Cavator?

A: Up to 1,300 gallons 

Q: What is the boiler output?

A: 410,000 Btu and 1,200,000 Btu 

Q: What types of vacuum systems are available?

A: Fan or positive displacement blower (See Figure 1) 

Q: What is the water system output?

A:        GPM – 10+
           PSI – 3,000+ 

Q: What types of digging tools are available? (nozzles, wands, mats, etc.)

A: Vac-Con offers a wide variety of tools for any digging application. 

Q: What cab and chassis options are available?

A: Vac-Con is capable of producing the X-Cavator on any commercially available chassis but maintains an inventor of Freightliner Pull Chassis up to 450 hp for faster delivery.  

Tom Jody, Marketing Director
Mike Selby, National Service Manager
Mike Pellechia, Hydroexcavator Product Manager


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.