© 2007 Plasser India
VM 170 Jumbo
Vacuum scraper-excavation technology – an alternative method of excavation for all kinds of material

Engineers know that there are certain spots in the track which are difficult to reach or track hindrances which obstruct or even prevent the application of conventional technology. The maintenance of these has to be performed manually which is labour-intensive and time consuming and therefore costly.

The VM 170 JUMBO is an economical alternative for the excavation or removal of various materials using vacuum extraction wherever obstacles hinder or prevent the efficient use of conventional methods.

Composition of the machine
  • Machine is standard railway vehicle designed with two 2-axled bogies, three axle powered hydrostatically.
  • Vacuum unit at the rear end of the machine consisting of a flexible, movable vacuum tube with a rotating scraper excavator nozzle at the end, a material separator (hopper capacity: 12 m3), The filter chamber to absorb any fine particles in the suction air and the sound-proofed drive unit. The required vacuum and the respective rate of the air flow for the excavation of material is produced by two rotary piston pumps which are powered directly by the diesel engine via distributor gearbox and cardan shafts
  • Suction arm manipulator at the rear end of the machine which guarantees an exact guidance of the rotating scraper excavator nozzle and the flexible vacuum tube. The movements of the manipulator are performed hydraulically and controlled from the rear cabin (optionally also with outside control). The manipulator enables movements in every plane, i.e. material can be excavated easily and completely between the rails, at the sleeper ends, at the ballast shoulder and in the vicinity of station platforms. Moreover, the vacuum tube can be tilted so that it is possible to excavate under the sleepers or even under the rails
  • Front sound-proofed cabin equipped with operating controls for work and transfer
  • Rear sound-proofed cabin equipped with operating controls for transfer and with all controls for the vacuum unit and the manipulator.
  • Sound-proofed engine compartment with temperature monitoring
  • Floor conveyor belt and slewing transfer conveyor belt to pass on material in the center line of the machine or up to 4,600 mm to the left or the right of center of track
  • Max. Excavation depth 1,000 mm below top of rail.
  • Max. lateral reach 7,000 mm from center line of track.
  • Vertical tilt of the suction nozzle up to 15 Degree
Advantages of the VM 170 JUMBO

Application of the vacuum scraper-excavator technology offers an extremely cost-efficient and also universally applicable method of work. The main advantages of the VM 170 JUMBO are:

  • Simple excavation of material, even on hard and encrusted material, thanks to rotating scraper-excavator nozzle
  • Excavation of material over the entire cross-section of the ballast without the need to dismantle track or switch
  • Ability to work in areas with awkward access or sections with unfavorable or restricted conditions (e.g. in tunnels, on bridges, etc.)
  • Through excavation of various materials such as earth, clay, brake fines, as well as contaminated soil or material with a high moisture content
  • Production of drainage ditches, cable conduits, etc.
  • Careful removal of material in the vicinity of cables, cable conduits, pipes, rodding, etc.
  • Excavation of mast foundation
  • Low environmental impact thanks to extensive noise protection and dust-free exhaust air.
  • No match wagon needed during transfer travel as the transfer conveyor belt is retracted
  • High tractive force
How the vacuum scraper excavator unit works

Material is picked up by the rotating scraper-excavator nozzle (200 mm diameter on standard model) and transported through the flexible vacuum tube to the material separator. Exact guidance of the scraper-excavator nozzle, even below the sleepers and rails, is performed by a special , hydraulically controlled manipulator. The excavated material and transport air is separated in the material separator. When the chamber is full, the work process is interrupted automatically and the chamber is emptied. The contents of the chamber drop onto the floor conveyor belt and then onto the transfer conveyor belt, from where the excavated material can be loaded either onto MFS units or into wagons in front of the machine or onto wagons or lorries alongside the machine. Due to the retractable design of the transfer conveyor belt, no match wagon is needed during transfer travel.

The air used for vacuum intake is passed through the filter chamber and cleaned of any fine particles, releasing only the clean air into the environment. The filters used in the filter chambers are cleaned automatically using compressed air. The fine particles are passed through a flap onto the floor conveyor belt and taken away together with a spoil.

Various suction nozzle attachments

Special circumstances, such as track conductors in the line, soiling at the sides that can only be removed with great effort, or an extremely small space between the rail head and the edge of the station platform, make it necessary to equip the suction nozzle with a variety of attachments. The different attachments allow the nozzle to be adapted very well to the prevailing circumstances and to the material being removed.

The all-round application of the VM 170 JUMBO wherever there are complicated working conditions enables material to be excavated over the entire cross-section of the ballast bed in plain track or switches, without having to dismantle the track beforehand.

Work can be performed on sections of a track network that have awkward access and unfavorable line conditions without major disruptions to services and without great deployment of labour and machines. A further advantage is also the low environmental impact of the machine thanks to extensive noise protection measures, dust-free outgoing air and minimization of the pollutant emissions.

Technical Data
Total mass 80 t
Length over buffers 24 540 mm
Distance between bogie pivots 17 500 mm
Total engine output 567 kW
Travelling speed
  under own power
80 km/h
100 km/h
VM 170 Jumbo