Compressed air is everywhere. Portable diesel air compressors bring compressed air wherever it is needed: plantside, roadside, refineryside and many other jobsites.
This month’s feature application is using portable air compressors for air spading.
The days of arborists and tree/lawn care companies enduring laborious effort to dig and expose roots for a diagnosis are over. Air excavation has become a preferred method for digging on many jobs ranging from tree care to utility work—and a new technology called air spading has evolved helping make workers’ lives much easier.
Air spading is a unique application where an AirSpade®, or air knife, combined with a portable air compressor, helps safely and efficiently aerate compacted soil. When compressed air is directed into soil at close range, air enters the voids, expands and fractures the soil. Stronger, non-porous materials such as metal or plastic pipes, cables, or even tree roots, meanwhile, are unaffected.
There are many advantages to excavating with AirSpade over conventional tools such as picks, shovels and backhoes, including:
- Two to three times faster than hand excavation
- Less worker fatigue than a pick or shovel
- Helps eliminate sharp metal edges as featured on picks, digging blades or buckets
- Helps protect buried, solid objects such as utility lines, telecommunication cables, tree roots, hazardous waste containers, or military ordnance
- Excavates some rocky soils where a shovel is difficult to use
- Breaks soil into small particles that are ideal for re-compaction
An AirSpade is designed to run off of a standard, towable portable air compressor like the Sullair 185 Series. The tool converts compressed air – typically 90 psi – into a supersonic jet, directed through a nozzle designed exactly for this purpose. The nozzle can produce exit velocities of nearly 1,200 mph, focused onto the soil and dislodging it in a fraction of a second. This helps lawn care companies to remove all the soil from roots with minimal damage to even the smallest of trees, and it protects utility companies from damaging buried, solid objects.
When using an AirSpade, always be sure to follow the manufacturers’ safety and operating instructions. As with your compressed air equipment, regularly inspect hoses for leakage, kinking, abrasion, corrosion or any other signs of wear or damage.
Find your local authorized Sullair distributor to learn more about this application and which compressor is right for you.