Using Compressed Air for Air Spading
The days of arborists and tree/lawn care companies enduring laborious efforts 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, thus making 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 the 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, 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.