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No sloping off for Wacker Neuson’s Vertical Digging System

A Shropshire based civil engineering contractor is exploiting the benefits of Wacker Neuson's Vertical Digging System (VDS) on a major contract to up-grade the motorway communication network alongside the M6 in Lancashire.

The Highways Agency contract involves a total distance of 64 km between junctions 32 and 37 and McDermott Construction, together with sister company McFour, has been tasked by main contractor Peek Communications to open a 960 mm deep x 410 mm wide trench and install large termination boxes every 500 m. As the job proceeds, 4-way sealed ducting is then bedded in stone and the trench backfilled on a continuous basis to ensure that only the minimum length is left open at any time.

McDermott has recently taken delivery of nine new Wacker Neuson machines from local dealer Beddoes Machinery Sales of Montgomery in Powys which have been selected especially for this 24 week contract. The order comprises of five mini excavators, a 28Z3, 38Z3, 50Z3 and a pair of 2404s, plus a 6503 and three 9503 wheeled machines with triple booms used for placing stone and backfilling duties. Of the minis, three are equipped with VDS which enables the operator to tilt the machine's entire superstructure by up to 15 degrees. This feature is perfect for the M6 project where a lot of the digging has to be carried out on sloping embankments.

Commenting on the Wacker Neuson system Dave McDermott said, “The ability to keep the cab level whilst working on the batters is a real bonus for us and really helps to keep the work on schedule. In fact our new VDS equipped 38Z3 zero tailswing machine currently holds the record by excavating 285 m in one day.”

Where the embankment is steeper, the machines only have to dig a minimum amount of material away in order to accommodate the up-hill track and then deploy the VDS to level the cab. In the even steeper sections and where access by even a mini is impossible, the company has to resort to a purpose-built trenching attachment.