Being universal in the field of application of special vehicles, vacuum loaders are gaining increasing popularity. But while in Europe the use of mobile “vacuum power” is a common practice, in Russia this type of rolling stock wasn’t very well-known until recently.
A tank or hopper with a tilting mechanism, a manipulator with a suction hose, a technological compartment with an autonomous power unit plus an automobile and truck chassis – this is what they call ‘vacuum loaders’. Initially such units appeared on the railway: in order, for example, to carefully collect the crushed stone between the sleepers when repairing the tracks. Today, this relatively new type of construction equipment is successfully used, in particular, in the excavation of underground engineering communications. In cases when the size of the construction site is limited or there is a risk of the equipment being damaged by the excavator bucket, the vacuum loader operates clearly and efficiently. Builders have to prepare just a small area, providing access to the necessary point. Suction air does not harm the electrical cables, high-voltage, fiber-optic and gas lines.
Another example: vacuum industrial cleaning during cement production allows returning most of the spilled cement to work, and cleaning silos with a vacuum excavator helps to avoid heavy manual labor. Collecting excess rubble from the site, removing spilled oil products or clearing production facilities and sites from dust and pollution (including hazardous substances) – all this can be done by a vacuum loader. It can also quickly make a recess for laying the pipe, a well for the pile, clean the clogged pipeline, dig a trench for the foundation.
The variety of applications of vacuum earthmoving equipment is almost unlimited. It works in the oil and gas sector, construction, telecommunications, at power plants and oil refineries.
The principle of the “vacuum power” is quite simple and at first glance resembles the work of a regular vacuum cleaner. The machine for excavating soil and other types of construction works uses a powerful suction airflow created by one or more fans or pumps. Through the sleeve, air along with the material gets inside the machine, where it passes the collection chamber and the filter system and then is released back into the atmosphere. Sometimes the manufacturer provides an on-board compressor for the automatic cleaning of filters. The high performance of the unit ensures a high speed of the airflow in the suction hose (sometimes more than 100 m / s). The hose mounted on a cranked or telescopic boom with hydraulic drive can be moved in several angles, which provides high accuracy of work. The sleeve is elongated with the help of nozzles, so the material can be transported horizontally up to 200 m, and vertically up to 60 m. If necessary, the extracted material can be used to backfill the excavation site. During unloading, the material collection chamber is tilted like a usual bucket. Some vacuum systems have common features with vacuum cleaner vehicles or bulk tippers, special …