How to Choose the Best Plate Compactor for your Job

Have you ever encountered a paved surface that appeared wavy or bumpy? If so, there’s a good chance the best plate compactor for the job wasn’t used.

When it comes to paving jobs and pavement maintenance, equipment is key. Without the right equipment, completing a successful paving project is virtually impossible.

The question is, what needs to be considered when choosing a plate compactor? If you have this same question, you’re in luck. Here you can find answers to all the questions you have about finding the best plate compactor for your project.

Types of Plate Compactors

All types of compactors have a few things in common. For example, they are all machines that compact layers of materials while reducing the thickness of the layers by reducing the air pockets.

However, there are several types of compactors available on the market today, with each one suited for a particular job. Learn about plate compactor options here.

The Hydraulic Compactor

The hydraulic compactor is designed to mount on other equipment, such as a backhoe or excavator. It’s capable of compacting all types of materials. It can even work properly in locations where other compactors fail.

The Rammer Compactor

Another type of compactor is a rammer compactor. This equipment is used for compacting road bases, road curbs, footings, and foundations.

It’s smaller and lighter than hydraulic compactors, which makes it ideal for interior floor compaction jobs. It can also be a viable option when repairing pavements, streets, highways and road shoulders.

The Vibratory Plate Compactor

The vibration action and weight of the vibratory plate compactor are used for the compaction of granular soils. These have been uniquely designed for the effective and easy compaction of soil, asphalt and other types of less-cohesive materials.

The vibratory compactor works by reducing the number of air voids through vibration and then it compacts the layers with the machine’s weight. Because of the machine’s small size, it allows you to compact confined areas where turning while using other equipment would be impossible.

While being operated, the machine generates a horizontal force to propel itself in a forward motion. This particular feature makes the equipment easier to handle and operate.

What to Consider When Selecting a Plate Compactor

Plate compactors are tools used to turn gravel, stone, and sand into something that will be able to maintain its form with a two-ton vehicle or structure on top of it.

Thanks to the innovative design of this equipment, plate compactors can achieve the desired results without any special training. However, not all equipment is the same.

To make sure you choose a high-quality, efficient machine, learn what to look for when purchasing this equipment.

How it Works

Plate compactors work similar to how the bigger, drum-roller counterparts do. There are two key things that determine how deep a machine can compact, including:

  • The centrifugal force
  • The frequency

These work together to create a consistent compaction force. The centrifugal force is what provides the plate compactors with power. It’s created when the weights in the eccentric housing inside the plate compactor rotate to improve the total force transferred through the machine’s plate to the compacted material.

The frequency refers to the rate the weights inside the plate compactor rotate. This is measured in VPM – vibrations per minute. You may think the higher the frequency is, the more compaction force. However, the opposite is actually true.

A machine with a lower frequency is perfect for compacting thick or medium layers of materials. Higher frequency machines work well for thinner layers.

Understanding how modern plate compactors work is just one factor of the selection process. To ensure you find the best plate compactor for the job at hand, be sure to look at the material being compacted and the size of the project, too.

The Proper Impact

You will find two types of plate compactors – reversible and forward.

The forward units operate in a forward direction and are ideal for compacting granular soils, including gravel and sand, in the 8 to 12-inch range. These units are usually lighter and smaller, weighing just 40kg to 140kg. This makes them simple to maneuver in smaller areas.

There are some forward plate compactors designed with tanks and water systems for compacting asphalt, in addition to soil. Water is applied to the plate while being operated to reduce the possibility of the asphalt sticking to the machine.

A reversible plate compactor can operate in both a forward and reverse direction. They are ideal for compacting deeper layers of granule materials.

This machine is ideal for using to compact cobblestones and other materials. If you are working on a medium-sized project, such as a driveway, this is a smart option.

The Details Matter

While you have to consider the materials being compacted and the application, you also need to consider a few additional details.

Try to find a unit that offers a vibration dampening handle. This can help reduce fatigue that operators may experience.

Another modern feature is Bluetooth remote controls. These units allow users to operate the compactors up to 100 feet away. This also helps to enhance safety and minimize the risk of injury due to slips.

Finding the Best Plate Compactor: Now You Know

As you can see, plate compactors come in an array of styles and types. Finding the best plate compactor is not straight forward- it depends on the job, the material being compacted and of course your budget.

If you are interested in learning more about the best plate compactor for you, or just have a few questions, be sure to contact our team. In addition to offering information on plate compactors, we also have information on stonemasonry and bricklaying equipment.

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