frequently asked questions

The method of agitating in-situ materials in the water column, typically with a cutterhead, and then a centrifugal pump will send the materials through a closed pipeline to an upland discharge area.

An auger dredge uses an Archimedean screw cutterhead to slurry the material and convey it to the centrifugal pump vortex for transport through the pipeline. Auger dredges create an even bottom profile in the waterway and are known for creating significantly lower turbidity than open basket cutterheads since they are enclosed on the top and sides with a steel shroud that creates a vacuum effect.

An auger dredge consists of the horizontal auger cutterhead, slurry pump, diesel engine, operator’s cabin, hull / flotation, and the dredge ladder that supports the horizontal auger head and controls cutting depth.

Ims only use ladder mounted pumps as they use less energy to transport the dredged material, are typically easier to operate, and they create 5% plus more solids than hull mounted dredges.

A Versi-Dredge is a one truck transportable, self-propelled dredge that has both a hydraulic dredging function and a hydraulic weed harvesting function.  Versi-Dredge is one of three dredge and dewatering brands owned by Ellicott Dredge Technologies, LLC.  The other brands include the Mud Cat and GeoPool Dewatering  Ellicott Dredge Technologies is wholly owned by Markel a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MKL). 

Auger dredges are used in a wide variety of applications including, but not limited to: irrigation canal dredging, stormwater canal dredging, lake dredging, reservoir dredging, marina dredging, port dredging, mine tailings pond dredging, beach dredging, river dredging, sand pit dredging, papermill lagoon dredging, shrimp farm dredging, fish farm dredging, wastewater treatment plant dredging, water treatment plant dredging, wash plant pond dredging, sea water intake dredging, salt brine pond dredging, and many more applications.  

Auger dredges have many benefits over other types of dredges including:

  • Auger dredges have the lowest turbidity of any other dredge method on the market.
  • Auger dredges are lower in cost than larger cutter suction dredges even with the same production and depth capability as they require fewer mechanical systems to operate and less raw material to produce.
  • Auger dredges create an even bottom profile and don’t leave larger craters or irregular arc cuts like other dredges. It is much easier to track your cuts with an auger dredge.
  • Auger dredges can be fitted with inexpensive cutterhead wheels to protect cement and polyethylene liners in industrial ponds, municipal ponds, and stormwater canal systems.
  • Auger dredges produce solids in the 20-30% range by volume and 40-53% by weight on a consistent basis vs. basket type cutter dredges which typically vary from 10-20%.
  • IMS Versi-Dredge models are all self-propelled, so you never need to set up anchor cables on shore which allows you to reduce labor costs and finish projects faster than dredges that require swing wires or anchor points.

Once we know the answers to the following questions, we can determine the most appropriate dredge model for your project:

  • What is the dredging application (port, river, sand mining, etc.)
  • What is the current depth?
  • What is the desired depth after dredging?
  • What material(s) are you dredging?
  • What is the estimated percentage of each material?
  • Is the material sedimentary and loose or is it compact and hard to excavate?
  • What is the maximum pumping distance to the discharge area?
  • What is the elevation from water level to discharge area?
  • Is there are targeted hourly production rate?
  • What is the total volume of material that needs to be removed?
  • What is the pH of the environment if not neutral?
  • Are there any water conditions or wind conditions we should be aware of?
  • Is there any debris or vegetation in the dredging zone?

No assembly is required other than hooking up the discharge line to the back of the dredge.  All IMS Versi-Dredge models come fully assemble from the factory and are one truck transportable.  

Yes, training is included with every dredge purchase.  Training is essential for proper start-up and operation of the dredge and is critical to make sure the operator and other workers on sight can safely operate the machinery. 

Yes, the factory is certified by Burau Veritas.  The certificate is available to buyers upon request.  ISO standards are important to a company to help maintain manufacturing quality, safety, and credibility in the global market.  

Prior to acquisition by EDT (formerly LWT) IMS won the Kansas Governor’s Exporter of the Year award in 2000.  In 2014 IMS was awarded the United States President’s E-Award for Export Achievement.  The award was presented by the U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Yes, IMS typically has all Versi-Dredge models in stock to meet immediate demand from global buyers.  

No, IMS does not rent dredges.  If you are in need of a rental dredge, then you can look at our Mud Cat brand: 

Unless you are an existing dredge contractor that owns several dredges then you may not know what to stay away from when buying a dredge.  Here is a quick list of red flags and things to stay clear of when buying a dredge: 

  1. Lack of Experience: When you go to the dredge manufacturer’s website does the supplier show galleries full of pictures from around the world highlighting their experience in various applications?  If you get to a website and they show stock photos of applications or only a couple photos, then that is their resume.  Do you want to spend money on a dredge that has limited experience or buy from the leading supplier of auger dredges in the world? 
  2. 3D Engineering Drawings: If you get to a website and the supplier is showing concept drawings for several of their models or only one picture then stay away.  You will be the guinea pig in place of their research and development.  This can cost you your project if the system has glitches to work out.  There are several newer suppliers in the industry that use 3D drawings to bait customers into thinking they have experience.  This can be a costly mistake.   If you then need to sell the asset to get your cash back out then you may be left empty-handed as nobody wants to buy one-off equipment or prototypes that have been modified.  They want proven dredge models.
  3. Call the Manufacturer: Find out what the prices are before assuming you can’t afford a new dredge.  If you think buying a used dredge to save some money is a good idea, then find out the history of the dredge if it is available.  You may find out that certain parts are obsolete, or the pump might not be correct for your application.  If they appear smaller in size, then it might be assumed that they have better prices.  That is incorrect.  IMS has multiple competitors who appear to be smaller, but they are not less expensive, and they don’t have value added technology that IMS does.  
  4. Used Dredges: If you are looking at a used dredge then consider your experience with refurbishing equipment.  If you buy a hydraulic dredge which has a lot of hydraulic components then at least look at replacement costs for hydraulic pumps, motors, hoses, gear boxes etc. and find out if you are really saving money by buying used ones.  Also, look at the condition of the dredge hull, cutterhead, pump and the electronics.  Cost savings can be wiped out real fast with a used dredge.  
  5. References: Can the supplier provide good references promptly?
  6. Factory & Location: Ask for photos of their factory (inside and out).  See the conditions your potential dredge is being built in.  IMS for example has hydraulic and electrical rooms that are separated from the manufacturing floor to control impurities from getting in the system.  How far are they from a major airport?  Can you afford an extra day if they must spend a whole day getting parts to a major hub?  IMS’s factory is only 45 minutes away from Minneapolis / St. Paul International Airport, a global hub.  
  7. Employees: Find out how long their sales solution team has been in the business.  IMS sales solutions team members all have 20-35+ years in dredge industry experience. 
  8. Cut Pattern: Pay attention to gimmicks about dropping a cable mounted pump into material and getting very high solids.  How does the pump cut material and what does the bottom profile of the water body look like?  Would you drop your lawn mower from a tree or vacuum your rug by raising and lowering a vacuum hose?  It makes little sense when you look at post dredging surveys and instead of seeing a flat bottom profile like you would with an auger dredge you see craters all over with high variance of depth instead of uniformity.  Do you want to re-dredge several areas?  IMS provides a complete system with a cutter, pump, flotation, ladder (not just a cable with a pump dangling at the end with hoses, cables, and wires all over the place.)  


IMS has Versi-Dredge units working in over 60 countries.

Yes, all IMS Versi-Dredge models can be fitted with a modern dredging GPW System that can track the dredge position, dredge heading, and dredge cutterhead depth.  The operator must upload an XYZ file or pre-dredging survey into the GPS laptop.  This will allow for the system to provide a history of dredging options showing “as surveyed” and “as dredged”.  It will show real time position of the horizontal auger cutterhead cut profiles.  IMS uses Trimble components and a 14-inch field rated laptop display for easy removal from the cab (anti-theft).

If moisture gets inside the hull between the steel and foam, then it accelerates the corrosion process dramatically as the moisture is now trapped and there is no way to clear it from the hull.   

Some of IMS’s competitor’s foam fill their floats and say it is for “safety”, but it is really to cut costs as cheaper thin gauge steel is used and then they don’t need to weld in steel bulkheads and internal stiffeners for rigidity.  When the corrosion process advances enough to the point where major hull repairs are needed, the hull must be completely torched off and replaced.  This is not good for the environment or workers as the fumes are highly toxic.  This is why it is best practice to not foam fill a hull…even if it saves money up front as later it will cost you a lot more in maintenance.  Both closed and open cell foam cause the issues described above, but open cell foam will accelerate the corrosion process once water enters the hull.

The patented Starwheel Drive self-propulsion technology is standard on all IMS Versi-Dredge models which eliminates the need for you to hire anchormen to hammer in anchor plates on shore and move them every time you need to start dredging a new area.  This eliminates the need for added labor and equipment on site.  

Starwheel Drive consists of two independently driven paddle wheels that are bi-directional and have independent speed control so the operator can turn the dredge easily.  The Starwheels act as a paddle wheel on the water surface at a high rpm which is effective in bottoms that consist of silt, light muds, and organic materials which are soft in nature.  Starwheels will run at around 15rpm on the surface.  When the operator has a firmer bottom of heavier sediments or sand then they can drop the Starwheels to the bottom surface and use them to move the dredge into the cut.  Once the operator moves the Starwheels down to the bottom of the waterway, the patented TractionMaster system automatically turns on the bottom propulsion mode which lowers the speed to 7rpm and increases the torque giving the Starwheels positive traction drive and the ability to push the dredge forward without spinning out in the material.  

Yes, the Starwheels can be lowered to 22 ft. (6.7m) with the 5012 LP/HP models and down to 30 ft. (9.1m) with the 7012 HP.  The Starwheels reach the maximum cutter depth of each model.

  • Yes, the Starwheels can be fitted with patented Rubber Boots that can walk the dredge forward on the cement liner without damaging it giving the Versi-Dredge the same benefit of self-propulsion in a cement lined waterway.   IMS can add cutterhead wheels to the sides of the cutter to protect the cement liner.

  • Yes, the Starwheels can be raised to the surface and the travel system can be switched to cable drive propulsion.  Each Versi-Dredge comes standard with a cable drive windlass and pully system on board.  All you need to do is buy the optional shore anchors and traverse cable package and you can run the dredge and a standard travel cable system.  IMS can add cutterhead wheels to the sides of the cutter to protect the bottom liner.

The patented Pump Defender technology is a removable screen that comes standard on all Versi-Dredge models.  The Pump Defender is positioned behind the dredge cutterhead and has a concave shape that matches the profile of the cutter.  After each revolution of the cutterhead it clears off the screen to prevent suction loss in debris rich environments.  It can be a game changer in lakes, canals, and other areas where aquatic debris is found.  There is one case where a competitor’s dredge was returned to their factory because the Pump Defender would solve the customer’s problem of multiple shutdowns per hour.  Every time you need to shut your dredge down you need to flush out your pipeline, so it does not clog.  Without the Pump Defender you can reduce your productivity significantly.  The Pump Defender has proven to reduce downtime in debris rich environments by up to 80%.  If you don’t want the Pump Defender because there is no debris in your pond, then it can be removed with simple hand tools.  

The patented WeedMaster cutterhead is available on all Versi-Dredge models (2024 and beyond) and can be installed in place of the standard dredge cutterhead to convert the dredge into a hydraulic weed harvester.  The WeedMaster will cut hyacinths, reeds, cattails, milfoil, hydrilla, sargassum and other aquatic vegetation and pump the chopped pieces to the discharge area through a closed pipeline.  No other dredge in the world has this capability.  The WeedMaster eliminates the need for a conveyor harvester or for mechanical rakes to come in before hydraulic dredging takes place.  The WeedMaster makes all Versi-Dredge models dual function hydraulic dredges.  Since the vegetation is mulched, it quickly dries out in a fraction of the space and is significantly less expensive to haul away.

It is only available on IMS 5012 LP Versi-Dredge models from 2018 and newer.  The WeedMaster can only be used on IMS 5012 HP and 7012 HP units starting in 2024. 

No, the technology is patented so it is not available from other dredge suppliers and IMS does not build conversion kits for other dredge suppliers because the hydraulic requirements vary from dredge to dredge.  Additionally, all Versi-Dredge models are built with proper stability to handle the WeedMaster cutterhead.

IMS’s clientele prefers Tier 3 Marine engines which are EPA compliant and do not require DEF fluid.  The systems are less sensitive and more reliable in the field.  IMS, however, does provide Tier 4 Final engines when required by state or country regulators (example: California and Europe).  

  1. One truck transportable
  2. Self-propelled with Starwheel Drive
  3. Optional cable drive system and liner protection wheels for use in lined lagoons and canals.
  4. No assembly for launching other than connecting to discharge line.
  5. Anti-Clogging with Pump Defender
  6. Anti-Corrosion package is standard. 
  7. Highest production dredge models in their respective class
  8. Joystick controls for all dredge functions 
  9. Cutterheads for solids and vegetation making it a dual function dredge.
  10. Highest resale value of any auger dredge manufacturer in the global dredge industry.
  11. Parts are in stock and on the shelf since all models are standard build.
  12. The price point is lower than some cable dredge manufacturers and can be about ½ the price of an amphibious dredge that has lower pump production. 
  13. All models are standard design with high quality control standards.