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Comparing Trenching Machine Techniques


A trenching machine is used in the construction industry for digging a trench, specifically designed for installing drainage pipes, laying pipes or cables. They come in several configurations from as small as a walk behind, to an optional attachment for a tractor or skid loader, to purpose built heavy equipment.



Trenching Machine used for Pipe LayingLaying pipe with a trenching machine


They have several digging styles to accommodate different depth and width and difficulty of ground to be trenched.



Krupp Bagger 288Krupp Bagger 288, world's largest trenching machine


A rock wheel or a wheel trencher has a toothed metal wheel. This heavy-duty machine can cut through broken, split rock and can cut through pavement. The wheel has high-strength steel teeth allowing it to cut into difficult soil. As it digs it pushes the excavated materials away from the trench.

Chain trenchers uses a chain that is driven over a frame that is lowered into the ground cutting it like a chainsaw. This type of machine is used mostly for laying of pipes for water, gas, electricity, telecommunications and drainage systems. Sewer contractors benefit from the high productivity. The excavated soils are conveyed on a belt and disposed to the side.

Small rock wheel or micro trenching machines are designed for congested areas and feature a large cutting wheel or blade and look like oversized power saws. It can do precision cutting and narrow width trenches that reduce damage to surrounding pavement and also less excavated soil. Popular in cutting around congested sidewalks and streets and into solid surfaces such as concrete or pavement.

Portable trencher is a lightweight machine that is popular for installing irrigation lines and landscape edging.

Human Trenching MachineOr, you could always dig it by hand!

Vacuum excavators, also known as hydrodig, are vacuum trucks with large capacity tanks mounted with a vacuum hose and a high pressure jetter hose. High-pressure air or water cuts soil loose and a vacuum hose removes and lifts the soil into a vacuum tank. The method of trenching and excavation is highly popular in the oilfield and underground utilities industries because of its high productivity and safe work methods.



New trenching machine applications are requiring new technologies to meet the demands of worker safety and high productivity. For further information on trenching machine manufacturers and technologies please see our sponsors.


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