Vac-Con, Inc. manufactures custom-built, truck-mounted machines to serve public and private environmental markets worldwide. As far back as 1992, the company was looking for more efficient ways to drive vacuum systems and, as a result, began partnering with Bosch Rexroth and distributor partner Gulf Controls Company. The mainstay of Vac-Con’s business has been the combination sewer cleaner market. Available in many sizes in both single and dual engine configurations, the Omnibus Precision Power (OPP) option is available on combination sewer machines.
The machines use high-pressure water and vacuum for sewer and storm drain cleaning, plus a variety of other applications like hydro excavation, which exposes underground utilities to daylight without risk of damage. The units include high-pressure water systems capable of producing flows and pressures from 0-120 gpm and 0-3000 psi. The vacuum systems are capable of vacuum pressures from 14 to 27-in. Hg and air flows up to 8000 cfm. Vac-Con, Gulf Controls, and Bosch Rexroth set out to find more efficient ways to not only produce the Omnibus option but to support it in the field.
Vac-Con worked with the Rexroth team on a project charter with goals and deadlines to keep everyone focused on the tasks at hand. In conjunction with the charter, Vac-Con reached out to select team members to get their feedback: What did they want to be changed? What worked well with the existing machine? What didn’t? From Vac-Con’s perspective, the ultimate goal was to develop a new system that enhanced performance, operator friendliness and safety, in addition to major efficiencies and machine reliability. All of this feedback provided an outline to use in strategizing the next generation of the Omnibus. After research and development, the result was a turn-key product that met all needs.
In talking with team members and customers, Vac-Con was able to clearly lay out a few mandatory features for the new machine:
• Design parameters that can be replicated from truck to truck
• No different versions of the same product • Technology and machine components that are configurable within the system
• Remote troubleshooting ability
In addition to these parameters, Vac-Con wanted customers to be able to stock all of the machine’s components at their locations, and be able to have the trucks configured/programmed remotely. The new Omnibus combination machine uses several components including A4VG axial piston hydrostatic pumps, A2FM axial piston hydrostatic motors, BODAS RC controllers and DI3 monitors. The axial piston units are compact and have high power density, economy and reliability – characteristic advantages for hydrostatic transmissions.
These pumps and motors meet high speed and torque demands, as well as optimum efficiency. BODAS DC controllers and DI3 monitors help create complete intelligent hydraulic solutions through PC software for driving BODAS functions, an integrated simulation environment, signal measurement and testing. The system is user-friendly and allows for remote troubleshooting.
Given the collaboration and feedback of subject matter experts, engineers, sales team members and end-users, the new Omnibus control system is completely configurable on the manufacturing floor and doesn’t require any custom programming. This platform allows Vac-Con’s dealers to stock key components for the machine and enables them to turn on/off particular options according to individual customer specification.
The new technology is capable of controlling the truck chassis throttle and hydrostatic pump to bring the machine online as economically as possible. The end-user can slowly tune the chassis to throttle up and stroke the hydraulic pump in so it’s always at peak torque. Operators have three speeds to choose from. The second speed setting helps save fuel so trucks can run at this setting and do roughly 80% of the work. And, because of the system’s real-time data capabilities, the end-user can see exactly how much fuel the truck is consuming based on the fuel setting. From a troubleshooting perspective, dealers are able to see live data on any truck as it’s being used and can make adjustments remotely. The system includes three levels of password protection for the user, dealer, and engineer.