Vermeer’s handy middleweight

There’s a big middle ground in between, and in Australia we don’t see a lot of machines filling that ground. All Track Trenching’s new Vermeer T455 weighs around 8 tonnes and is only 2.9m wide, so it doesn’t need a permit to get around or a special float.The first time I saw the machine, it was digging the trench that would house the cable for street lights along an arterial road that was being upgraded. It worked on a footpath, using its sideshift to dig the trench close to the kerb, and ran the spoil away from the road. Even though it was digging clay soil that was hard going, the spoil came out fine enough to be used for backfill.The second sighting couldn’t have been more different – digging a conduit trench beside a golf course at a semi-rural estate. The soil didn’t look too bad although tree roots proved tough going. The real trick was the ability to adjust the tracks individually to level the machine on a side slope. This was severe in places, and would have been a significant potential hazard for a conventional machine, but the T455 seemed well balanced despite the slope. A benefit on this upmarket estate was the minimal impact on the ground. The tracks have rubber pads and distribute the weight of the machine over a significantly bigger footprint than a backhoe – and there are no stabilisers to provide point loads.The most recent job was digging drainage trenches in the floor of a new landfill cell. The soil looked like a good loam, but the ground was waterlogged from recent rain and the trencher was working at almost full depth (1.83m), which showed in the size of the spoil windrow. This was the first job that the trencher undertook using its Topcon laser guidance system.

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