Trencher VS. tommy

Eliminating all of the manual labor involved with installing fabric in the soil cuts in half the time and effort normally involved. Minimizing the volume of materials to be man-handled also improves efficiency. These factors all improve the morale of the crew, which has significant benefits to management and customers.

In simultaneous, apples to apples races between the tommy and the different types of trenchers, the tommy literally ran a circle around them while installing 400 feet of fabric in less time than the trenchers installed 200 feet in an easy, straight run.

silt fence installation measured in minutes

The tommy installed 400 feet of finished fence in 10 minutes, with only a two-man crew. That computes to 1200 feet per man-hour. The best trencher installation was 200 feet in 12 minutes, or 500 feet per man-hour, with trenching more than 50% slower than slicing.

A person might argue that the trencher is more efficient with more laborers––that more laborers inherently make the trenching operation efficient. But it's not true. It just takes a lot of time to excavate tons of soil, man-handle a multitude of bulky material, and then backfill properly, which doesn't even account for many conditions where the trencher can't manuever or operate. Additionally, 1) who wants to hire more laborers and their related problems when they can use a machine, and 2) an extra man would make the tommy even more efficient––significantly more so than one would to a trencher.

Silt Fence Installation - feet per man hours