Posted on 22 November, 2018

What is a Non-Destructive Profiler (NDP)?


Non-destructive Profiler (NDP)

Caption: The Mighty NDP

One winter’s day in 2013, Trevor, who has worked in the VAC Group Workshop for over 15 years, smashed a rocksaw on the front of a bobcat and called it a Bobsaw. Five years later – the much flashier ‘Non-Destructive Profiler’ was born.

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Trevor was certainly more of an engineer than a marketer – but he was pretty chuffed with himself the day he came up with “Bobsaw” to describe his clever invention as a way of safely stripping hard surfaces back for utility locating.



Smashing a rock saw on the front of a Bobcat was as clever as smashing the words Bobcat and Rocksaw together, Trevor thought. The name Bobsaw stuck around the halls of VAC Group, but every time someone used that description in front of customer, confusion would reign supreme. It wasn’t a very fitting description of a machine that was truly an ingenious, efficient, safe and productive way to strip surfaces during the utility mapping process. It sounded more like something a recreational lumberjack might buy from Bunnings on his weekend.

Regardless, more and more of VAC Group’s customers were deploying the machine to their sites and the strange invention was appearing on some of the major projects on the East Coast. It was proving a highly effective alternative to the traditional profiling machines, and the results were speaking for themselves.

Then, the marketing team – with their flashy words and brand language - got hold of it. Bobsaw didn’t have the finesse of ‘Non-Destructive Profiler’. Even though the guys in the workshop will always call it a Bobsaw – to the outside world VAC Group is the first company in Australia to take this innovative machine to the market across a range of project examples below.



Radar Mapping

Even though we can make jokes about its name all day long – this ingenious hybrid machine has some serious commercial benefits in major projects. 


When we use our Non-Destructive Profiler on projects at VAC Group, we generally see a

  • 100% reduction in service strikes during the hard material removal process
  • 30% reduction on impact to the surface
  • 25% increase in lineal meterage coverage from traditional profilers
  • Increased machine safety
  • Reduced onsite congestion with less plant required
  • Contained and encased cutting operation
  • Faster project completion rates
  • Reduced noise production.


How does it work:

When Trevor in the workshop dreamed this idea up – the prototype was a bobcat with a rocksaw attachment that is approximately 110mm wide. The saw has 100’s of small teeth that are 1 inch in diameter and are spread across the width and perimeter of the saw. The teeth are used to cut through hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt creating a slit trench that can then be non-destructively excavated once the hard surface has been removed.


A wide variety of projects require the identification and location of subsurface structures and utilities such as gas, electrical, water and communication lines.


Bobsaw Non-Destructive Profiler Success Stories:



Sydney Light Rail

Results: 100% scope completion = 0 service strikes

The CBD and South East Light Rail is a new light rail network for Sydney, currently under construction. The investigation lasted for over 4 months with VAC Group operating 2 Non-Destructive Profilers consecutively throughout the length of the project.


During the utility investigation, VAC Group found over 830 utilities within the 1800m of trenches excavated. Of those, there were 232 unknown utilities. Due to the risks involved when trenching and the large potential to strike utilities VAC Group used their Non-Destructive Profiler in place of the traditional road saw and excavator. This would not have been the case if a roadsaw with excavator was used as 21% of utilities exposed were within 150mm of the concrete and of these 9% were within 150mm of the surface.

Radar Mapping

Sydney Metro City & Southwest Utilities Investigation Works

Results: 100% scope completion = 0 service strikes

The City and Southwest connection is a 30 kilometre extension of metro rail from the end of Sydney Metro Northwest at Chatswood under Sydney Harbour, through new CBD stations and south west to Bankstown.  The project required VAC Group to trench using the Non-Destructive Profiler and NDD in certain locations around Sydney to investigate underground utilities. Similar to the SLR 100’s of utilities were found with there not being a single service strike by the Non-Destructive Profilers on any project.


VAC Group trenched 325m with the Non-Destructive Profiler. Hundreds of services were found across high pressure gas mains, high voltage and transmission electric banks, fuel lines etc. All services found were safely exposed with no damage to any.


Trevor invented a remarkably reliable, safe and ingenious machine for a very specific purpose – that is proving across multiple projects that it can provide project managers with confidence in utility identification without service strikes.


We gave Trevor the Employee of the Month award once – but it went to his head.

Contact VAC Group today to arrange a personalised obligation-free quote.

Note: Certification to ISO 9001, 14001 and AS/NZS 14001 is limited to South East Queensland Operations.

PO Box 528, Ormeau QLD 4208

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