The Ditch Witch organization regularly asks for customer feedback, and over the past year, customers shared opinions related to vacuum excavation improvements. The recurring theme was more versatility, said Chapman Hancock, Ditch Witch vacuum excavation equipment product manager. The company listened to the feedback, and the result is its new HX line of vacuum excavators for debris or other material removal or trenching projects.
Focusing on Versatility
For the new HX30, HX50, and HX75, Ditch Witch decreased the models’ overall height by 10 inches compared to the FX predecessor, and decreased the overall width by 6 inches. The new product switched from spring axles to torsion axles, which increased overall ground clearance by 5 inches.
“These advancements have made the vacs a lot more versatile for our customers and the contractors,” Hancock said. “They’re able to get in and out of job sites that have height or width restrictions. If they’re working on the side of the road and there is a lane closure, it’s a lot more comfortable with a narrower package to get in and out of the blocked lanes.”
Hancock said the improvements don’t stop there. The new design removes 80% of the hose routing, or about 20 feet of hose, from the back of the machine. “That equates directly to more efficiency and more power at the tool,” he said.
The company also focused on operator safety with the new design. “We’re making sure the controls are in a position where the operator can see all moving components,” Hancock said.
Hancock noted that the excavators can safely locate utilities in tight spaces because of the size reductions of various components.
“Operators can do cleanup jobs and slot trenching, and instead of using an excavator or trencher around utilities, they can also use the vacuum excavator to dig the trench,” he said. “Operators can also utilize the water for any cleanup that needs to be done.”
More Power, Less Noise
The vacuum excavators’ Kubota Tier 4 Final engines provide 24.8, 49, and 74 hp to the HX30, HX50, and HX75 respectively. The three units provide more fuel capacity than each of their predecessors. Ditch Witch also noted that the engines boost power while reducing noise. The machines’ sound-reducing technology creates minimal disturbance in noise-sensitive areas and improves operator comfort, according to the company.
Tank options include a choice of a 500- or 800-gallon debris tank to meet the requirements of cleanups of various sizes.
But Hancock again emphasized versatility as a main selling point, noting that the reduced height, width, and ground clearance help the operator get into tight areas, parking garages, and curbs.