6 Different Types of Compaction Equipment

In the United States, compaction requirements for job sites are over 90% even on non-load bearing soil.

Compaction testing is a central component to the construction of build pads and the buildings that occupy them. Without proper compaction equipment, it is impossible to make a build pad or work site that is safe and to code. There are different types of compaction equipment for different jobs.

Here are 6 of the most common types of compaction equipment you may need or come into contact with:

1. Smooth Wheeled Rollers

A smooth wheeled roller is something that even children know if they’ve played with construction toy sets. They find use on build pads and highway construction. Two large steel wheels that are smooth act as tires for the equipment, but in reality are compacting dirt.

When choosing compaction equipment the size and shape of the build area is important. A smooth wheeled roller may not be appropriate for every job site, as it does have limitations. A curved line is not easy for such a machine to make, they are better in large, open spaces.

It is for this reason that they are most often thought of as associated with highways. They are also often used in the compaction of warehouse build sites, and other large structures that need to be built on a flat surface. They don’t do well with clay surfaces but excel with granular material.

2. Sheep-Foot Rollers

This type of roller is often used in the construction of earthworks. You’ll see them on job sites where dams, embankments, and railroad projects are being built. You can find sheep foot rollers in any compaction equipment guide as working well with silty soils and clay.

They come in two varieties, vibrating and stationary with the stationary roller good for top layer work. Those that vibrate compact sublayers of soil. This does give them the versatility for other projects

A sheep-foot roller is a large steel drum that has projecting elements called lungs. These help to increase the overall compaction force and come in various designs. They do this by narrowing down the surface making contact with the dirt.

3. Grid Rollers

A grid roller is made up of bars that are interlocked into a mesh. They can also be smooth drums featuring square holes, and they get towed or pulled without their own power. They do great work in compacting ground that has a lot of random mixture, small and large grain.

The special use for grid rollers is breaking up rocks and then forcing them into the compacted dirt. This is done because of the space between the grid bars, or the holes. They help to apply uneven pressure to the rock and break it down and then force it into the ground.

4. Double Drum Rollers

Double drum rollers are versatile and work on a wide variety of soil types. They are often used in the construction of roads, embankments, and even build pads for buildings. Some types of double drum rollers use vibration to help spread out compaction materials on the ground.

They are then used without vibration to roll over and compact the ground down where they just laid the fill. This versatility makes them favored in a lot of construction processes. In many ways, they are similar to the smooth wheeled rollers but can do a lot more for a smaller operation.

5. Plate Compactors

Many jobs do not require a large machine or equipment to get the necessary compaction. Even jobs that do can often benefit from smaller, more nimble pieces. This is where the plate compactor comes in.

Plate compactors come in a variety of sizes and shapes, they are hand operated by a single person. They compact the ground by using a single large, metal plate that has a wide contact surface. Force is then applied either downward or in a vibratory manner.

Being operated by a single person means that they can get in smaller spaces. They are able to get all the way to edges and corners. A big advantage is that they can operate in areas where larger equipment could cause damage, but compaction is still necessary.

6. Trench Roller

If you’re looking into renting compaction equipment, a trench roller is a great place to start. These machines only need an operator to walk behind them. They are often rectangular and can have one or two rollers with or without projections on it.

These machines work great in narrow spaces, like trenches hence the name. They are able to compact dirt in places that larger equipment and even other man-operated equipment, can’t. Depending on the type of job you’re doing, a trench roller can make an operation much easier.

Compaction Equipment

What is compaction equipment? Compaction equipment is any piece of equipment or tool that helps to compress the ground upon which other structures will be built, or concrete laid. It helps ensure the stability of foundations and the durability of structures like dams and embankments.

Renting compaction equipment can help out any operation, but smaller scale operations will have a larger benefit. Unless constructing build pads and earthworks is your business, you don’t have a reason to own a piece of compaction equipment. You can find an equipment rental service almost anywhere.

Don’t Underestimate Compaction Needs

Due to the shifting nature of dirt and the ground we live on, compaction remains a vital step in the construction process. Without it, our foundations would crack and our buildings would sink.

Compaction equipment is what helps to make modern buildings strong against erosion and natural disaster. This is why it isn’t surprising that there’s different options when it comes to the varying types of compaction equipment out there.

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