The City of Lacombe is partnering with local business SmartVac Hydrovacs, a local manufacturer of heavy equipment, to help advance the field of light-duty hydrovac excavators by field-testing a prototype unit developed by the company.
“I am pleased that we as a community have the opportunity to support a local business in developing a potentially game-changing product,” said Mayor Steve Christie. “When industry combines forces with local, provincial and federal agencies, great things can happen. We are fortunate to have this kind of innovation occurring right here in Lacombe, not just in this instance, but in many areas of our community.”
SmartVac Business Development Lead Tim Holt added, “We have been developing this prototype over the past 14 months, in conjunction with the City of Lacombe, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures and the National Research Council of Canada. What we have developed is a hydrovac truck that is designed from the ground up with the municipality in mind, and we have made something that is smaller, lighter, and more agile than current models, and really outshines the competition in terms of technology and innovation,” he said.
“What has really impressed me through this process is how receptive the various levels of government have been in supporting this project,” said President of SmartVac Hydrovacs Theresa Stec. “Without those supports, we simply wouldn’t have as strong of a product as we have today.”
“The City of Lacombe has been a valuable part of our design process,” said SmartVac Engineering Lead Jonathan Armstrong. “With their input, we have been able to nail down the things that are most important to municipalities when it comes to this type of equipment. We are excited to release the prototype to the City for testing and see how it performs in the real world. Getting feedback from their seasoned operators is going to be a big value to us because we will be able to tailor our design to the end-user.”
Municipal staff will be working with SmartVac personnel to test the prototype unit over the summer and fall through flushing sewers, locating utility lines and digging in tight spaces, to make sure the final product is able to meet performance objectives.
“We look forward to testing this new equipment and working with SmartVac,” said Matthew Goudy, director of planning and operations. “In the long run, we are hopeful that this new class of machine will allow us provide the same type of service to residents, but with lower overall operational costs.”
SmartVac Hydrovacs plans to have units in production for general sale and use by 2016.
Over the coming months, their staff will be attending several large trade shows to showcase their single axle, patent pending machine, which will compete with much larger, heavier equipment.