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Mechanical equipment for drainage excavation

Technology, machines and mechanisms for construction of closed drainage systems. A drainage machine is the master machine in the set of the machines used for the construction of closed drainage systems; depending on the characteristics of the operation of its active-action movable operating element and parameters of the cut trench (fissure), the drainage machine can be of trench-digging, narrow-trench-digging, or trenchless type.

The operating principle of narrow-trench-digging or trenchless drainage machines consists in continuous digging of trenches with simultaneous laying of drain ditches beginning from its outfall to its head. While the operating principle of trenchless type drainage machines with passive-action movable operating elements is different only in that the ground is not excavated and a fissure of required depth is cut instead of a trench, where drainage pipes are lain onto. After a pass by such a movable operating element, the fissure gets closed and windrows of expanded soil remain on the surface.

ED-3.0 and ETTs-406 [in Russian] -3,0 and -406) type drainage machines are used for the trench-digging way of construction, with racking of slip-joint clay pipes with all-round sand cushioning layer to a dray trench. At that, the water-intake section of the pipe line remains at the lower third part of the bell mouth.

The ED-3.0 type drainage machine operates with constant cutting depth of 3 m; required drain fall (at least 0.001) is provided at moving along a route that is previously levelled at a required slope grade. To lay a drain to a great depth, the intended route is extended to an appropriate depth, thus making a washtub. The same time, there is no such a need when using an ETTs-406 (type drainage machine, because it is equipped with semiautomatic system for controlling a specified grade by a caper rope and can carry out stepless control of drain burial depth up to 4.0 m.

For the narrow-trench-digging way of construction, ETTs-406A, DU-35-02, DU-301, and DTP-4.0 [in Russian] -406, -35-02, -301, -4,0) by means of type drainage machines, corrugated plastic pipes with the filter made from sand mixture of standard composition or nixed with sand mixture of non-standard composition and artificial rolled material are used.

In the 1980s-1990s, super-giant narrow-trench-digging drainage machines of foreign manufacture such as DYNAPAC (Germany) and STEENBERGEN (Netherlands) were imported to Uzbekistan and successfully tested.

For the trenchless way of construction, a drainage machine of MD-12 [in Russian] -12) type can be used; it is a K-701 caterpillar tractor-mounted self-propelled machine (the caterpillar is made from T-130G tractor chain track elements) with mounted passive movable operating element which corrugated plastic slotted pipes protected with fabric filter run through. To lay drainage under the conditions of low-permeable, soil drainage machines of BDM-300, BDM-301 [in Russian] -300, -301) types or their analogues developed and tested in the 1980s-1990s in Uzbekistan (State Irrigation Design & Engineering Bureau under the former Chief Central Asian Irrigation) seemed more promising to be used. The advantage of those machines was that they enabled laying plastic pipes with sand filter that provide higher water-intake capacity and reliability of drains. At the same time, when using trenchless machines, depending on the necessity to apply considerable tractive forces for pulling the passive movable operating element through the soil at a depth of over 2 m, they need to be completed with two additional tractors of DET-250 [in Russian] -250) types.

When constructing a horizontal drainage by complex mechanical method the following additional equipment and machinery is used along with the master machine:

  • scrapers or motor graders for leveling of the drainage machines track, drain route after its laying and backfilling;
  • dump trucks for transportation of drainage pipes, filtering materials, assemblies of outlet and head structures, as well as surface inlets;
  • bulldozers for sliding apart of spoil banks from the collector and drain outfall, backfilling of drain trenches, grooves, and excavation pits;
  • loaders for loading of sand & gravel filters onto dump trucks when transporting those from a storehouse next to the site to a continuously operating drainage machine;
  • truck cranes for mounting of the surface inlets, outlet and head structures;
  • excavators for excavation of outlet recesses and bottom-hole trench, installation of a drainage machine on the collector slope.


Closed collector and drainage network in the irrigation zone is recognized as a breakthrough engineering solution for reclamation of the land to be used for agricultural purposes. More than a half of the drainage is constructed by complex mechanical methods by using special machines, i.e. drainage machines. At the same time, there are no ideal designs of special machines with automatic control for preparing reference surface with desired dimension; drainage machines with active digging element for operation on unstable ground with high groundwater table; drainage machines with passive movable operating element and automatic control; trench-fillers with simultaneous reinforcement and aggregation of the ground; soil-compacting machines for trenches; devices for controlling the drainage line laying quality and diagnosis of its condition after the construction and in the course of its operation.

The mechanical equipment for trench-digging method of the construction of closed horizontal drainage includes:

  • machines for compacting the drain backfilling soil to full depth;
  • machines for leveling the tracks of drainage machines at the specified slope grade of the drain under construction, i.e. scraper DZ-20, DZ-77, DZ-12 [in Russian] -20, -77, -12), bulldozer -17, -18 [in Russian] -17, -18), motor grader D-557-1, DZ-98, DZ-1 [in Russian] -557-1, -98, -1), leveling excavator EP-301 [in Russian] -301);
  • machines for the installation of outfall structures in drain trenches;
  • drainage machines with a bunker folding during transportation D-301, ED-3, ED-3, ETTs-406, ETTs-252 [in Russian] -301, -3, -3, -406, -252).

Mechanical equipment for fissure method of the construction of horizontal drainage. Fissure drainage machine EDSch-251 [in Russian] -251) has been developed as mounted on the excavator ETU-354 [in Russian] -354) and is equipped with an active fissure-cutting element, pipe layer, and the system of closing the fissure with excavated material.

Mechanical equipment for wide-trench method of the construction of horizontal drainage. When laying closed horizontal drains under hard hydrogeological and groundwater conditions in an irrigation one, the wide-trench method of the construction is most commonly used.

When laying drains by this method, the main mechanisms are represented by single-bucket dragline excavators used when opening a trench and bulldozers by means of which an excavation pit is backfilled. All the drainage line laying operations, including opening of a bench, laying of pipes in the drain fill and filling-up of the drainage line by protective layer of earth, are executed by hand.

The Water Management Work Organization and Mechanization Department of the Central Asian Institute of Irrigation (SANIIRI) developed a technology and complex of machines for the construction of closed horizontal drainage by using the wide-trench method (Beglov, F.F., Karpov, N.P.). The suggested technology provides for mechanization of manual operations at construction of closed horizontal drainage. For example, shelf cutting operations for laying a drainage line is offered to be carried out with a chain bucket excavating element mounted on a tractor by analogy with the canal scraper.

The excavating element is made from two chain loops with buckets fixed on them. The excavating element is driven by a hydraulic motor. The bucket chain speed is recommended to set within the range of 1-2.5 m/s, and the operating rate of the machine is 60-120 m/h.

Source: Beglov, F.F. Study of the technology of closed horizontal drainage construction
in an irrigated zone and development of measures to improve it. Tashkent, 2012

Selected bibliography

Monographs and brochures

Beglov, F.F. Study of the technology of closed horizontal drainage construction in an irrigated zone and development of measures to improve it. [Results of studies of past years (1966-1986)] [in Russian] (2012) 

Kazakov, V.S., Tomin, E.D. Mechanization of the construction of closed horizontal drainage on irrigated and drainage lands [in Russian] (1969) 

Trenchless drainage machines in the USSR and abroad: review [in Russian] (1983) 


Beglov, F.F. Strengthening of soil in closed horizontal drainage trench by compacting it [in Russian] (1978) 

Beglov, F.F., Zakharchuk, V.A., Shalygin, Yu.M. Mechanization of the leveling of routes when constructing drains and irrigation canals [in Russian] (1978) 

Beglov, F.F. Drainage machine with a bunker folding during transportation [in Russian] (1984) 

Beglov, F.F. Improvement of the technology and mechanical equipment for the construction of closed horizontal drainage in an arid zone [in Russian] (1985) 

Beglov, F.F. Stepped bunker of the drainage machine [in Russian] (1986) 

Beglov, F.F. Excavating element of the trench-digging drainage machine [in Russian] (1986) 

Bedretdinov, G.Kh. Technical performance of drainage machines with reverse rotation of the chain [in Russian] 

Berdyanskiy, V.N. Outlooks for the mechanization of the construction of closed horizontal drainage in irrigated zones [in Russian] (1985) 

Levchikov, A.A. The new in the mechanization of the drainage construction on irrigated lands [in Russian] 

Nikitenko, A.V. Compaction of sand & gravel filter when constructing closed horizontal drainage with the drainage machines improved bunker [in Russian] (2008) 

Ostrovskiy, E.M., Misagatov, A.N., Puzyrev, Yu.V. Examination of trench-digging drainage machines in the Karhi Steppe [in Russian] (1981) 

Popadyuk, I.O., Kim, V.F. Use of optoelectronic systems with infrared radiation when constructing closed horizontal drainage with the drainage on irrigated lands [in Russian] (1994) 

Pulatov, U.Yu., Ostrovskiy, E.M., Beglov, F.F. Optimization of the parameters and regimes of soil compaction in closed drain trenches for the development of technical requirements for special soil-compacting machines [in Russian] (1972) 

Pulatov, U.Yu., Beglov, F.F. Davlyakanov, R.M. Improvement of the efficiency and reliance of the construction of closed drainage [in Russian] (1981) 

Volkov, V.V. Mechanization of the construction and operation of closed collector and drainage network [in Russian] (1981) 

Regulatory and procedural guidelines and reference information

Guidelines for the organization of complex mechanical construction of closed drainage construction of closed drainage and work production technology [in Russian] (1988)