Excavation near existing electrical lines, gas lines and other underground utilities can be dangerous and time consuming. A self propelled trencher called the Soft Trencher developed by Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio uses supersonic air to loosen dirt which is then vacuumed up into a truck or piled into a windrow for later removal of backfill. The supersonic air used to break up the soil is harmless to underground utilities and cables. Unlike traditional excavation methods there is no downward force that can be exerted on the underground utilities.
Fact Sheet ID Number
Construction Equipment & Methods
soft trencher, excavation, underground utility, construction equipment
Date of this Version
ECT Team, Purdue, "Soft Trencher" (2007). ECT Fact Sheets. Paper 73.