|The TT-UK/RSP ESE Suction Excavator mounted on the Mercedes Actros 2644 chassis|
The National Grid project aims to replace 91,000km of existing cast iron, ductile and steel gas mains in England within 30 metres of properties in order to maintain a safe and reliable gas distribution network.
Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services worked closely with TT-UK and their German design and manufacturing supply partner RSP, to develop the bespoke suction excavators. Built onto a Mercedes Actros 2644 chassis fitted with two PTOs (power take offs), the vehicle engine drives the powerful fan units that generate an airflow of 18,000 cfm, which in turn creates a negative pressure that sucks up the ground from around the gas pipes. The spoil is then deposited cleanly and efficiently into an integral tipping container on the back of the vehicle.
“Safety is the top priority of any National Grid project,” explains Rowan Sharples, Director of UK Construction, National Grid: “The specialist suction excavator enables our workforce to access underground pipelines with speed and accuracy, without disturbing existing networks. This significantly reduces the risk to employees from damage to underground power cables - a potential hazard of traditional open cut methods.”
|The remote controlled safety suction hose being demonstrated|
Richard Dyke, Key Accounts Manager, Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services explains: “We’ve worked for two years with TT-UK/RSP to develop a bespoke vehicle solution that meets the specific requirements of National Grid for this project. Now we’ve started to deliver the vehicles, we’ll ensure they are maintained and inspected regularly to be fully compliant with operating standards. All National Grid will need to do is put a driver in the vehicle, fuel and insure it – we’ll take care of the rest.”
Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services will supply National Grid with the biggest order for suction excavators in the UK to date – 10 units on a four year contract hire deal, with an option to extend by a further four years. These specialist vehicles add to the already extensive range funded by Hitachi Capital, which includes cars; small, medium and large vans; and HGVs with bespoke ancillary equipment such as cranes and tail lifts.
|TT-UK’s Nigel Gardener, Customer Services Director, and Dan Toms, Sales Manager, handing over at the North London Gas Alliance Depot in Slough|