1. Ferrovial
  2. STEM

What is a trencher?

A trencher is a machine designed to make long, narrow excavations in various soils in both urban and rural environments. 

Compared to backhoes, trenchers are less versatile, but they are much more efficient and affordable for specific jobs where long-distance ditches are needed. 

Trenchers have systems that enable the material’s disposal that they are digging to keep it from getting stuck as they go. They can also be designed for mechanically placing materials or nets of all kinds.

What are the most common uses for a trencher?

Trenchers are effective in the construction sector for installing pipes for water, gas, or cables for electricity or telecommunications that will be underground. Similarly, they can be used in excavating caissons for retaining walls. In agriculture, they are used to make and maintain channels or ditches in irrigation networks and trenches where plants are inserted. Trenchers are also used for maintaining the edges of roads.

What types of trenchers are there?

There are two main types of trenchers:

  1. Wheel trencher: this consists of a disc where different cutting elements like spades, scoops, and saws of various shapes and materials can be installed, depending on the work’s requirements and the terrain where excavation is needed. There are trenchers with wheels suitable for extracting soil of multiple consistencies, and others capable of breaking stone, pavement, and concrete with more precision and speed than hydraulic hammers.
  2. Chain trencher: this consists of an arm or bar with a toothed chain that works based on the same principle as chainsaws. The thickness and length of the blade can vary widely, as can the cutting elements that can be set up on the chain. A chain trencher is capable of working at different angles and depths, as the terrain requires.

How does a trencher move?

Depending on the size and characteristics of the trencher, it may be designed as a tractor with autonomous locomotion or as an accessory for excavator boom tractors, loaders, skid steer loaders, and other forms of locomotion, either wheeled or tracked. Trenchers usually operate by dragging in such a way that the vehicle that moves it is usually in front of the trencher. There are also portable trenchers that have wheels and are pushed by an operator, and there are even hand trenchers that weigh only about 15 kg.

What is the maximum depth a trencher can dig?

The dimensions of the trenches naturally depend on the machine’s characteristics. The larger trenchers, which are usually used in public works for installing large-diameter pipes and building aqueducts, can make trenches over 7 meters deep and are almost 2 meters wide.

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