Engineering work cannot succeed without the use of machinery. A plate compactor is a useful piece of equipment when constructing or repairing pavements, driveways, parking lots. Its job is to compact materials such as asphalt to create a firm foundation that can withstand heavy loads.
Plate compactors are convenient for confined spaces where machines like drum rollers cannot reach. Although plate compactors aim at the same objective, there are variations in functionality and application area. When selecting a plate compactor for your construction job, there are many factors to consider beyond the price.
Keep on reading to learn more!
1. Identity the Right Type
There are three categories of plate compactors: Forward or single direction compactors, reverse compactors, and heavy duty or high-performance plate compactors. The type of machine you choose depends on the size of the project and the degree of compaction desired.
Forward plate compactors move frontwards only. The compactor is appropriate for small-scale tasks such as the compaction of asphalt on driveways. You can also use it when repairing minor potholes.
The reversible compactor is more versatile as it moves forward and backward. The reverse option is handy as it saves you the hassle of having to turn the machine whenever you want to do another run. The compactor is ideal for narrow spaces.
Heavy duty compactors offer high compaction for different soils and construction materials. It is a perfect choice for deep compaction of gravel. Heavy-duty machines are the most massive, quickest, and most powerful types of plate compactors.
2. Consider Centrifugal Force and Frequency
The centrifugal force and frequency of your plate compactor determine the output power of the machine. They work hand in hand, and there has to be a balance between them for consistent compaction.
Centrifugal force is the primary source of the power of plate compactors. It results from the rotation of weights in the housing of the compactor which consolidates the energy transferred to the ground through the plate.
Frequency, measured in VPM, is the number of vibrations the machine makes per minute. In simpler terms, it is the rate at which the weights in the eccentric housing of the plate compactor rotate.
It is imperative to understand the relationship between frequency and performance. Low-frequency models of compactors are the best performing options, and they are ideal for the compaction of thick layers of materials.
On the other hand, high-frequency compactors are better suited for light compaction jobs. Most contractors use high VPM plate compactors for granular materials and asphalt.
Other factors like the weight of the equipment and amplitude affect the compaction power of a compactor. You need to read the manufacturer’s specification for the machine to make informed purchasing decisions.
3. Determine the Properties of the Base Plate
Since it is the plate which hits the ground, you need to know whether its material is appropriate for the targeted surface. Most base plates are either made of steel or ductile cast iron.
Cast iron is highly effective in comparison to steel since it is harder. It does not mean that steel won’t work, but it may not be as durable as ductile cast iron.
The geometry of the base plate also affects the compaction of the machine. Curved plates provide better maneuverability than flat ones. A compactor with a curved plate allows you to navigate around obstacles and constricted spaces easily.
4. Take into Account the Operator’s Safety
Plate compactors must produce strong vibrations to function. The tremors may affect the operator’s health after prolonged use of the machine. The design of the compactor also affects the comfort and the productivity of the operator.
Look for a compactor with vibration dumping handles (also known as anti-vibration handles). Most of the latest models have this feature. It allows the user to work for extended hours without feeling the shock or straining.
Some plate compactors have flexible handles for you to adjust according to your preferences. Fold-down handles also make it easier to store or transport the machine. Swing handles and centrally-mounted handles allow you to maneuver over asphalt and around corners comfortably.
Another feature which you may want to explore is the remote control function. Some manufacturers have enabled remote operation on heavy-duty plate compactors to prevent vibrations, noise, and injuries from accidents. You can operate such a compactor from as far as 30 meters away to ensure employee safety.
5. Maintenance and Repair Should Be Easy
Plate compactors are not complicated machines. However, it is vital to be sure of how to operate them correctly to enhance their longevity.
Your machine should come with an elaborate operator’s manual with information about maintenance. An essential component of a plate compactor is the engine. The manufacturer recommended oils and parts should be readily available on the market.
When shopping for a plate compactor to work on asphalt, select a model that has a water tank. The water prevents hot asphalt from sticking to the plate. A plate compactor without a water plate can be cumbersome to maintain if subjected it to asphalt.
Ask your supplier about the kind of service you can expect and where you can access it. Find out if the manufacturer provides warranty for the compactor and the period it covers. Customer support is critical when dealing with machines since you cannot tell when they will break down.
Plate Compactor – Wrap Up
The market has a wide range of plate compactors. The application area and the size of the job are among the key factors to put into consideration when choosing a compactor. It’s up to you to weigh your needs and decide whether to hire or buy a plate compactor.
Various types of compactors are useful in different situations. You can choose a forward compactor to perform repairs. The smaller versions of the reverse compactor are ideal where space is limited. The heavy-duty varieties of the reverse plate compactor are best for loads of debris where massive compaction power is needed.
Above all, know the degree of compaction you need and look for a machine which provides that. Ensure that the compactor you have chosen caters for the safety of the user for a smooth job.
The right compactor matters for your business success, and you can use our business resources for more information.