Excavator Tips: Trenching and Loading

Volvo excavators are designed to deliver maximum power, strength and fuel efficiency in all applications. Below are some tips to help you get the most from the machine when you’re trenching and loading.


Tips for Trenching and Loading 

  • Take time for setup — while it seems second-nature, so many people skip proper set up.
  1. Determine where you’ll put your spoil pile, bedding material, and where you’ll stage pipe (if relevant).
  2. Ensure you aren’t setting yourself up to be boxed in as you work.
  3. Use offset marks with paint lines, string lines, etc., to give yourself a reference point. Taking time to do this helps you avoid unnecessary time moving material multiple times later.
  •  Align the front and back of the machine to your reference. If available, put features like Volvo’s straight travel pedal to work which allows you to control the line with one pedal versus controlling two pedals.
  • Start with your paint line or marking path—dig the teeth in enough to mark the direction of the trench so it’s in alignment.
  • Be aware of the terrain — if the machine is not able to work on level ground, work to hold the grade.
  • Use features like Volvo’s boom oat, which prevents hydraulic down force and allows the bucket to maintain consistent, even contact, floating above the dig depth to create a smooth, level trench.
  • As you’re digging and pulling material out of the trench, take care to keep the area in and around the trench clean and free of debris to remove safety hazards for other workers or machines in the area. Keeping the area clean also contributes to greater efficiency in the process and benefits you during loading, so your trucks are not backing over debris between truckloads.
  • Help ensure safety by remaining aware of your track orientation. Don’t commit to a direction before doing a short test acceleration.
  • Try to dig over front idlers when possible, and if digging over the side, be aware that the stability of the machine will decrease. Volvo excavators include sideview and rearview mirrors, and the option of a sideview camera to increase visibility of the jobsite.
  • For applications that require intensive digging, Volvo’s power boost function will max out the pump to full operating pressure for nine seconds.

Tips for Loading

  •  Before you begin working, try to ensure the attachment you have on the excavator is sized correctly for the job — think through maximum reach required and density of the material to be moved. 
  •  Remember you call the shots about the hauler position and consider the following:
  1. Position the excavator at a height that’s ef cient for loading. This means your bench height should be close to the height of the haul truck sideboards.
  2. Place the vehicle to be loaded so the machine doesn’t have to swing and travel more than necessary.
  • Stay safe by remaining cognizant of your surroundings:
  1. Always be aware of any overhead or underground obstacles.
  2. Use mirrors and cameras to your advantage. Volvo excavators include sideview and rearview mirrors, and wheeled excavators have optional Smart View cameras that provide overhead visibility of the working area.
  3. Never swing the bucket or load over people or a cab. 

Learn more about the Volvo Ex Factor.