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Productive capacity of trenching and trenchless machines when laying subsurface drains

, : Productive capacity of trenching and trenchless machines when laying subsurface drains. Agricultural Water Management 21(1-2): 45-56

To assess the productive capacity of drain-laying machinery, the laying of subsurface drains (which discharge into open field drains) was considered as an activity for moving earth. The rate at which earth is moved depends on the type of soil, of machine and of engine power. Two types of machine were monitored: a trenching (chain digger) and a trenchless machine (crawler-type with v-plough). The observations made it possible to derive unique relationships between the volume of earth moved per unit of engine power and time, for the soils: silty clay, loam, sandy loam and sand. The drainage material was corrugated perforated pvc pipe in an envelope. The observations were made by recording the machines in action on video tape and replaying the tape on a specially adapted integrated computer/video system. The cycle time needed to lay the lateral drains was derived from these relationships on the four soil types. An additional amount of time for subactivities was added later. The engine power needed (an index of the time taken to lay a lateral) by trenchless machines was less than that required by trenching machines. Increasing drain depth decreased the difference. The engine power needed by v-ploughs was least on silty clay and greatest on sand. The trenching machines took longer to reverse: 8% longer if not infilling or levelling and 23% longer in infilling or levelling. The trenching machines require 75% more time for positioning the machine at the right depth. The other elements of the drain-laying cycle combined took about 20% more time when done by trenchless machines. The derived job efficiency is 0.84 for the trenching machines and 0.87 for the trenchless machines.


DOI: 10.1016/0378-3774(92)90081-7

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