Weighs less, carries more — an in-depth look at the redesigned vermeer vxt600 vacuum truck

The Vermeer VXT600 vacuum truck has undergone a comprehensive redesign from the ground up and features many updates from its predecessor. Updates to this next-generation model have prioritized lightweight design, increased payload capacity, noise reduction, simplified controls, improved digging performance and more.

TJ Steele, Vermeer MV Solutions product manager, stated, “Our first-generation VXT600 hydro excavation truck, known as ‘hydro vac’ in the field, has been on the market for several years. We’ve dedicated significant time to gathering feedback from customers and dealers as we began developing the second generation of this popular model. Our goal with the redesign was to retain features from the previous model that customers valued, such as the 6,400-cfm (181.2-m3/min) blower and 19.4-gpm (73.4-L/min) water pump while introducing enhancements to help drive more productive performance.”

Lightweight design

The most notable improvement in this redesigned hydro vac is its weight reduction. The previous VXT600 was considerably heavier compared to the new model, but with innovative engineering and appropriate use of materials, the truck now weighs in at 40,000 lb (18,144 kg), shedding more than 6,500 lb (2,948.4 kg).

“Contractors often face capacity restrictions to comply with federal bridge laws, which limit truck weight. Given the current surge in infrastructure investments, compliance with weight regulations is crucial. Our focus on reducing the truck’s weight helps our customers comply with DOT regulations while maximizing water and spoil capacity,” explained Steele.

To achieve weight reduction, Vermeer engineers designed each part specifically for its application and avoided redundancies by keeping the design simple. The water tanks have been mounted directly onto the spoil tank. The redesign also improved weight distribution and filtration by elongating the spoils tank and utilizing the front axle allowance.

Both efforts resulted in several thousand pounds (kilograms) of weight being removed from the VXT600, said Steele.

Additionally, the truck’s overall height was reengineered. At only 12.25 ft (4 m), the VXT600’s low height helps allow for easy accessibility through bay doors, as well as under bridges, tree canopies and power lines.

Increased payload

The lighter-weight, low-profile design of the new VXT600 allows for an increased payload, which is beneficial for crews looking for larger, more powerful vacs.

“With the redesign, the VXT600 is not only among the lightest vacuum excavators in its size class,” said Steele, “but it helps increase payload.” This next-generation truck has a 12-yd3 (11-m3) spoil tank and a 1,200-gal (4,542-L) freshwater tank capacity.

two men use a Vermeer vacuum truck

Enhanced cleanup

The redesigned VXT600 stands out from other vacuum trucks on the market because it focuses on easy cleaning. It features a unique cam-over-door mechanism, allowing the rear door to open at a 50-degree angle for easy dumping and cleaning, even with the boom stored. A washout nozzle, vibrator function and detergent injection system further simplify cleanup efforts.

“When our customers are working in sandy soils, sometimes they’ll get a buildup of material in the front of the tank,” said Steele. With the vibrator, as operators dump, they can press it, hold it on and shake the spoils tank to help get debris out. We also included a washout nozzle in the redesign, so operators can hook the water hose to the washout nozzle and clean that with water at the same time.”

The VXT600 is also equipped with a detergent injector. “With our patent-pending system, the truck injects detergent into the water stream, so when the mixture is sucked up through the hose, it keeps the hose lubricated, preventing it from getting coated with red clay or any other type of soil,” explained Steele. “Additionally, it lubricates the tank, facilitating easy dumping and cleaning.”

Another enhancement to the VXT600 aimed at simplifying cleanup efforts is the new sheet metal covering the water tank. In contrast to traditional water tanks that may be difficult to clean due to cracks and crevices, the smooth surface of the sheet metal allows for efficient rinsing and removal of mud and debris, streamlining the cleanup process. This feature also offers a unique branding opportunity for companies.

Simplified controls

Vermeer aimed to create a control system to optimize operator training. A 7-in (17.8-cm) LCD screen provides access to all truck functions, while a full-function wireless remote offers operational flexibility. The truck’s engagement process is simplified, with operators needing only to press a button to engage the vac system.

Quiet, efficient digging

The updated VXT600 is purpose-built to expedite crew tasks. Two key elements contribute to its efficient performance: the low sound levels of the Helical tri-lobe Jurop blower, which supports quiet operation, and convenient dig tube storage on the side for quick startup.

With a rear working area decibel level of 85 db(A), the VXT600 is one of the quietest vacuum trucks available, significantly minimizing noise disturbance in environmentally sensitive urban and metropolitan areas.

“Typically, vac trucks operate around the 100-decibel mark,” noted Steele. “This means that when they’re fired up near residential areas early in the morning, crews may get noise complaints. By redesigning the vacuum system and blower silencers, we’ve achieved a substantial sound reduction.”

The 8 in (3.14 cm) diameter dig hose on the VXT600 can be stowed on the side of the truck with the dig tube attached. This feature allows operators to quickly set up at jobsites, allowing them to promptly stow the boom, turn the water pump on and start digging. “For crews moving from pothole to pothole, this capability significantly streamlines operations and helps save valuable time onsite,” added Steele.

Additional options available

The VXT600 offers versatility with a choice of two chassis models: The 510-hp (380-kW) Kenworth T880 truck and the 505-hp (377-kW) Mack Granite truck. It can be further customized to include various features such as a 180-cfm (5.1-m3/min), 110-psi (7.58-bar) air compressor for dry digging and powering pneumatic tools, a 420,000-BTU Dynablast hot water heater and a cold weather kit designed to heat cabinets, water lines and valves.

Additionally, the VXT600 offers two options for hydraulically driven water pumps: A 10 gpm (37.9 L/min) and a 19.4 gpm (72.7 L/min) capacity.

“The 10 gpm (37.9 L/min) option appeals to customers seeking greater economy, while the 19.4-gpm (72.7-L/min) pump is ideal for crews working with two dig operators simultaneously,” explained Steele. With hydraulically driven water pumps, unloader valves are unnecessary, and all aspects, including PSI and flow, are automatically calculated, even when operators change nozzles. “This eliminates the need for manual adjustments, providing seamless operation,” Steele added.

“The VXT600 offers high productivity and versatility for contractors and municipalities,” concluded Steele.

Find out more about the VXT600 vacuum excavator from Vermeer. To experience the difference, get in touch with your local Vermeer dealer today. 

Vermeer MV Solutions, Inc. reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements, or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications. Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. © 2024 Vermeer MV Solutions, Inc. All Rights Reserved

A man uses a Vermeer vacuum excavator

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