Three Vac-Con combination trucks give Russell Reid productive performance and high job site flexibility

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In the infrastructure-heavy markets where municipal and commercial cleaner Russell Reid operates, business opportunities are plentiful. To capitalize, the company, based in Keasbey, N.J., relies on multitasking combination trucks that are as flexible as the vacuum hoses they carry.

“We wanted the flexibility to take on unusual jobs, like cleaning grease traps on the third floor down in an office building basement,” says Mitch Weiner, CEO.

So, the company invested in three almost identical trucks built by Vac-Con Inc. on Peterbilt 330 chassis. Each truck (2003, 2004 and 2005 models) has an 11-cubic-yard debris tank, Dresser Roots positive displacement blower that generates 4,200 cfm at 16 inches Hg, and a variable-flow jetting unit that delivers up to 50 gpm/2,000 psi.

Built to produce

Weiner says the trucks were specified to maximize productivity and durability. For example, a high-dump option using a scissor lift under the debris tank lets the trucks off-load waste on site instead of wasting time traveling to and from a disposal site.

“In the market where we work, you typically can’t dump waste on the job site,” Weiner explains. “So you need to take it to a transfer station or disposal facility. To avoid that, we dump waste into roll-off containers.

“The scissor lift raises the debris tank high enough to perform a good dump and discharge the contents. Before, we used to back the trucks up onto wooden ramps, which was time-consuming and dangerous.”

The trucks also have air-ride suspensions that give drivers a comfortable ride and help cushion the trucks from the constant jarring and bouncing they endure when the debris tank is empty, which is much of the time.

“It’s abusive,” Weiner says. “That boom really bangs around, so to the extent that we can soften the ride, things will last longer. A lot of people think air suspension makes trucks less stable on uneven ground, but that’s not the case with these trucks.”

Two power sources

The trucks get another productivity boost by using separate diesel engines for power vacuuming and jetting. Before, the company’s trucks used one engine for both functions. That made it difficult when a cleaning job required, for instance, maximum vacuum power from the blower and minimum, low-volume capacity for jetting.

“To accomplish that, we had to use valves and controls to bypass the engine, which was not a very elegant solution,” Weiner says. “Separate control of the blower and jetter make the trucks more flexible for the different kinds of work we do.”

That work can vary greatly. About 30 percent of the workload involves cleaning storm and sanitary sewers, and the rest is cleaning lift stations and holding tanks.

“Occasionally, we have to empty a subterranean holding tank that’s way below grade, under a high-rise building in the middle of a big city,” Weiner says. “It’s basically a lift station that ejects sewage up to the sanitary sewer line. It’s very specialized work.

“The truck sits in the street, and we might have to run 300 feet of hose down two flights of stairs and into the tank. We need significant airflow to convey waste such long distances. We also clean day tanks, which collect sewage during the day, when treatment plants are overburdened, then get pumped out at night, when the flow is lower.”

No matter what’s required, this trio of multitaskers is up to the challenge.


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