The Claw from Amthor International is designed to make locking rear-opening vacuum tanks safer and more efficient.

Opening the rear door on vacuum trucks often puts operators in a precarious position, balancing on a small, and often slippery, pedestal to unlock several clasps around the diameter of the tank. Not with the Claw.

The Claw, unveiled by Amthor International at the 2014 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International, is a patent-pending series of hydraulic arms to open and close the rear door on vacuum trucks, eliminating the use of wing nuts along the top and sides. Designed for safety and efficiency, the mechanism is Amthor’s response to customers asking, simply, is there a better way?

“No longer does the driver have to climb 13 feet on top of the tank to tighten down the rear door,” says Butch Amthor, the company’s executive vice president. “All he has to do is pull a lever and the arms extend and reach out to release or pull the door tight.”

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Amthor’s Claw design can be used on any code or non-code vacuum tank. It increases driver safety and saves money on unnecessary tank repairs due to incorrect operation. “It can be retrofitted on all our tanks already out on the market,” says Amthor. “We designed it to be installed on any rear-opening vacuum tank.”

The hydraulic lever on the back of the vacuum truck is easy to latch and unlatch, and achieves a strong, tight seal on the tank. “It’s a much tighter seal than any human can provide manually,” says Amthor. “The Claw locks past center and even if pressure is lost or the cylinder fails to operate, the latch will not be loosened.”

The idea was launched about six months before the Expo, in response to customer recommendations. Amthor heard so many stories of operators losing their balance and falling off trucks while unlocking or locking their vacuum tanks that he decided it was time to come up with a solution to combat the problem. In addition to the safety and efficiency benefits, the Claw is constructed in accordance with ASME DOT 407/412 code for highway travel.

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“These workers operate in some very slick conditions when they’re on the job site, and they take a risk every time they climb up and down the rig,” says Amthor. “The Claw eliminates a lot of that risk, because the operator can stand on the ground and operate the system with one lever. He doesn’t have to climb anywhere.”

The company decided to unveil the new product at the 2014 Expo in large part because of the huge target demographic walking the show floor. Amthor says he was able to talk to hundreds of potential customers who were impressed with the company’s products and focus on worker safety.

“The Expo is the perfect place to roll out a product like this; where else are you going to be able to get it in front of thousands of customers?” he says. “We have marketing ready to send out to our existing customer base saying that the Claw is available on all new vacuum tanks and can be retrofitted to the tanks they already have. I’m very optimistic that this will be accepted by the industry.”

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As for future shows, Amthor says he’s already working on some new products and innovations to bring back to Indianapolis in 2015, when the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International becomes the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show.

“This year the Claw was something we came up with that was completely different for the industry,” says Amthor. “My mind is thinking about this 24/7. There are already some ideas kicking around.” 800/328-6633;

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