Efficient Sewer Cleaners Designed with the Operator in Mind

Super Products builds versatile multiuse vacuum trucks capable of tackling any situation

Efficient Sewer Cleaners Designed with the Operator in Mind

 The Camel combination units are what Super Products Vice President of Municipal Sales Mike Drott calls the “Swiss army knife of the vacuum world.” The units service the drain cleaning and hydroexcavation industry and one model has wastewater recycling capabilities, making it an even more versatile option. 

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Super Products has been a leading manufacturer of vacuum trucks since 1972, engineering units to serve a wide variety of applications and needs. Its trucks are designed with the operator in mind, and the company strives to produce innovative options like wastewater recycling capabilities to provide its customers with the best sewer cleaning technology available.

Cleaner recently spoke with Mike Drott, vice president of municipal sales for Super Products, about the company’s line of vacuum trucks, finding the right vehicle whether new or used, and what’s to come in the sewer cleaning industry.

Cleaner: Tell us a little about the history of Super Products.

Drott: Super Products was founded in 1972 by Lionel Moore (marketing sales), Chuck O’Bryan (manufacturing) and Tom Flinn (engineering). The first units produced were the Supersuckers, followed by the first Camel in 1976.

The company was sold to Inductotherm in 1981 and then to Specialized Industries LP in 2005. In 2014, Super Products was acquired by the Alamo Group from ELB. The first Super Products manufacturing plant was in West Allis, Wisconsin, and then it moved to New Berlin, Wisconsin. In 2019, Super Products built a new state-of-the-art headquarters factory that we call home today in Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

Cleaner: What differentiates your vacuum trucks and sewer cleaners from the competition?

Drott: In the case of the sewer cleaners, we offer an ejector plate for dewatering and unloading the debris tank. This exclusive feature makes the unloading of the debris safer, fast and cleaner. The Camel wastewater recycling system is among the most proven in the U.S., with over 40 years of U.S. operation.

The Mud Dog is U.S.-manufactured with a worming compartment for the operators and their tools. The Mud Dog is a vacuum excavator with an ejector for unloading —the safest, fastest and cleanest way to unload.

The Supersucker is an industry leader in capacity, baghouse efficacy and unloading ease. The modular design makes it easy to repair and maintain over unibody designs. KISS is what the Supersucker is.

Ejector off-loading, Superpac and wastewater recycling are the most popular features on the Camel. The ability to dewater before driving to the dump site helps reduce weight and increase payload. With wastewater recycling, the ability to fill with water once and work all day increases line cleaning by 40%.

Cleaner: What sort of needs do they address? Tell us about your vacuum truck offerings and what applications they best serve.

Drott: Camel combination units service the drain cleaning industry and the hydroexcavation industry. It is the Swiss army knife of the vacuum world.

Mud Dogs are often the No. 1 choice of high-production vacuum excavation contractors. The ability to dig with air and water makes the Mud Dog the choice of the discerning contractor.

Cleaner: What are some recommendations for customers shopping for a vacuum excavator or sewer cleaner?

Drott: If you are looking for the most reliable and versatile equipment, the only choice is Camel and Mud Dog.

Customers should be looking at companies with long track records for building the equipment they are looking for — good, solid manufacturers and dealers offering superior service, companies that are keeping up with the latest technology for operations and components. Chassis and all the components used are changing yearly. You want to match the units to the chassis when possible. Most manufacturers have commonly used chassis that have all the components and holes laid out and included when the chassis comes from the factory. This can also reduce cost of the end product.

At the end of the day, find a supplier that is well respected in the industry, where the equipment you are buying is their primary interest — not a company that got into building a vacuum excavator because it is the new fad.

Cleaner: You offer rentals and used vehicles too. When might those options be a better fit than a new vehicle? How should contractors decide what route to go?

Drott: Many contractors may be building their business or getting into a new market. So renting can be the best short-term solution. With no long-term commitment, it is a great way to get started.

Used equipment can be an option for mature markets where competitive pricing pressure can make it necessary to have reduced equipment costs. The contractor must look at the long-term strategy of the market the used equipment is going to service.

Many times the reduced cost is not worth the lack of warranty and not knowing the full history of the equipment. Equipment purchase cost does not affect your hourly operating cost much whether you buy new or used. Typically, maintenance costs are higher on used equipment. Your hourly cost of operation is affected by fuel, operator wages and overhead more than the difference in the equipment cost.

Cleaner: How do you see the drain and sewer cleaning industry evolving?

Drott: I see wastewater recycling as the biggest change to the industry. If you look at the cost increase compared to the production increase the payback can be as little as two years. Also, using the proper nozzles and tools for the end of the hose is so important. I still see contractors using $100 nozzles on a $500,000 machine.

Cleaner: What’s new for Super Products in 2021? What can customers expect out of Super Products in the future?

Drott: There are several things coming in 2021. Customer service in all areas of our company is number one. We have started a customer service and customer experience group. E-commerce is also coming in 2021. This will allow our customers the ability to purchase parts online, with parts breakdowns and drawings provided online.

Cleaner: What do you want your customers to think of when they hear the name Super Products?

Drott: No. 1 in the industry for the customer experience, from the purchase to the end of the equipment’s life.

Innovative and highly engineered products are what we manufacture. Super Products is just like any manufacturer with four walls — it’s what is inside that makes the difference. 


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