Light compaction equipment, including plate compactors, rammers and trench rollers, is a good addition to an equipment fleet because of its high ROI potential. The equipment is needed to complete a wide range of projects, including compacting soil in trenches and asphalt on pathways. Selecting compactors that are dependable, as well as easy to use and maintain, ensures several years of use with routine maintenance. Such equipment also requires a relatively minimal investment. Generally, look for units with productivity-enhancing features that reduce servicing downtime and are highly maneuverable. Here are some other considerations:
- For forward plate compactors, choose units with integrated water distribution systems that don’t require piping. This prevents the plate from collecting asphalt and virtually eliminates the risk of clogged or broken water systems. That means less maintenance expense and downtime for contractors. When looking for reversible plate compactors for larger pavement jobs, such as driveways, choose models that feature eccentric weights. These types of weights do not require regular oil checks like standard weights, which minimizes downtime. This helps operators focus on compacting soil rather than stopping frequently to check oil levels.
- For compaction work in the narrowest of areas, including backfills, ditches, foundations and trenches, choose a rammer that allows workers to achieve maximum productivity. Lightweight units with narrow tamping feet — some as narrow as 6 in. — make it easy for operators to maneuver close to obstacles. To minimize servicing downtime, some manufacturers incorporate large air filters in the top of the rammers that operators can change without using a single tool.
- Contractors should also consider trench rollers, especially if they’re assisting with utility projects. Operators can move the units by hand or use a Bluetooth remote control. This allows them to compact soil in potentially dangerous areas, such as steep hills and trenches, which would normally put them at risk for injuries. They feature a smooth or padfoot drum for optimal traction and effective compaction on some of the toughest soils, including silt and clay. In addition to trenches and hills, contractors also can use trench rollers to prep soil before laying concrete for sidewalks or parking lots. Look for units that have easily accessible engines and components, which will help speed up maintenance.
Darrell Engle is the product manager for light compaction equipment for Atlas Copco.