Making Sure We Know How to Choose the Right Plate Compactor
Whether preparing to compact various types of soils, crushed aggregates or hot mix asphalt, selecting the correct plate compactor for the job cannot be underestimated. There are certain features all quality compactors must have, and certain compactors that will only perform well with particular soil types and job sites.
By Value not by Price
Considering all the variables including compaction requirements and plate compactor specifications is essential for achieving the best possible result. A machine may be inexpensive yet not get the job done. An expensive machine may have great specifications but prove impossible to handle without difficulty. It’s better to make sure the machine chosen is one that can deliver the compaction value required.
Matching the right plate compactor to the specifics of the job is a matter of checking requirements. Determining the soil type and the desired depth of compaction, along with site conditions like the size and accessibility of the area to be compacted. In urban areas, narrow roadways and high traffic areas, it’s easier to maneuver and use a lighter single plate compactor.
The plate forming part of a plate compactor is most often measured in width. The average size of a plate is between 15 to 25 inches. Generating around 3,000 pounds of centrifugal force, the amplitude and weight of the compactor are as important a measure of value to be gained as the plate size. Steel plates that conduct heat more quickly are a better choice for hot asphalt compaction than cast iron. The shape of the base plate is also a consideration as it affects compaction. A curved plate is best.
Comfort in Handling
The operator handles on plate compactors are vital to the overall efficiency of the machine. Unless the operator is comfortable doing the work, the job will progress inefficiently. Making sure operator handles are fully adjustable and have padded grips is one of the most essential criteria for operator comfort. These handles are also convenient for transporting the compactor from job site to storage site.
An important consideration in plate compactors is engine type. Especially when working on longer jobs, the reliability of the engine is vital. A few brands have specialized in engines that give high performance in machines like a compactor. The better ones include Honda, Subaru, Kohler, Yanmar and Lombardini. The ‘vibrations per minute’ (vpm) is another factor in choosing the right compactor. Lower eccentric frequencies are better for use on cohesive soils, and the higher vpms for granular materials and asphalt.
There are some additional aspects to think about when making sure we choose the right compactor, including compacting quality. The general design of the machine is also vital for the machine’s easy maintenance and longevity.
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