Vermeer Puts Tracks on Trenchers

By Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief | September 28, 2010

New RTX350 rubber-tracked trencher digs to 48 inches and widths from 5 to 12 inches. Its sibling rubber-tired trencher, RT350, is also a new model for Vermeer.

Vermeer Manufacturing announced a series of alliances in September, but the most significant was an agreement that puts ASV undercarriages on Vermeer ride-on trenchers. The first three in this new family of tracked trenchers were unveiled at the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE): RTX350, RTX450 and RTX650.

Tracks give trenchers less ground disturbance, provide increased side-hill stability, flotation in soft or sandy soils, and the ability to maintain a straighter trench when digging, the company says. And, says marketing communications manager Tony Briggs, "better flotation gets the contractor out [working] more days."

Models RTX450 and RTX650 are simply tracked versions of the company's rubber-tired trenchers, RT450 and RT650. The RTX350 (along with its ride-on sibling, the RT350), however, is a new machine to the Vermeer lineup, available next month. The RTX450 will be available in January; the RTX650 in February. Briggs says the company is currently evaluating whether there is a need for tracks on other ride-on trenchers in the line.

Vermeer markets the 350s to the rental sector, calling them a "step up" in size from walk-behinds. A Cummins A1700 engine delivers 37 horsepower, and the units have disc/caliper park brakes and a 42-inch wheelbase. Cutters are supported by bolts through both side plates of the trencher chain assembly. The 350 trenches to 48 inches, and in widths from 4 to 12 inches.

As with other ride-on trenchers, the RT350 and RTX350 have the company's exclusive forward/reverse ground-drive foot pedal that frees operator's hands to control the attachments, providing creep override instead of requiring the operator to shift between ground-drive controls and controlling attachments simultaneously.

Standard front attachment is a four-way backfill blade, and optional rear attachments include a high headshaft center-mounted trencher or hydraulic sliding offset trencher.

Operator features include a center-mounted seat, automotive-style steering, and easily accessible hydraulic test ports. An operator-presence system automatically shuts down the tractor when the operator leaves the seat with the attachment or ground drive engaged. All tractor and attachment controls are at hand for convenient operation. The hood is easily removable to allow quick and convenient engine servicing.

All RTX machines carry Vermeer's one-year/1,000-hour limited warranty.

Specs at a Glance
Manufacturer/Model Operating Weight (lb.) Max. Cutting Depth (in.) Cutting Width (in.) HP (gross) Ground Drive
Astec 360 3,906 60 6 – 12 32 Mechanical
Ditch Witch RT36 3,940 60 5 – 16 38 Mechanical
Vermeer RTX350 3,690 48 5 – 12 37 Hydrostatic