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Evolution of Road Rollers

What are the important points to know about road rollers?

  1. Significant Developments
  2. How road rollers work
  3. Types of road rollers


Road rollers play a very important role in modern construction equipment. Essentially, a road roller is an engineering vehicle used to compact soil, gravel, concrete, and asphalt. The first known road roller made use of horses, most likely inspired by their farming counterparts. Before the 19th century, the road roller was simply used to cultivate the soil and level the land. Eventually, the Industrial Revolution led to the rapid development of these machines due to the high demand for road construction.


Evolution of Road Rollers

Road rollers were once powered by strong animals such as horses. Once steam power was introduced, self-powered road rollers became more popular. Steam rollers are similar to tractions engines which became the inspiration for road roller designs. The roller is now located in the front while wheels in the back push the construction vehicle forward. Americans used this design well into the 1950s, and the steam roller remained in commercial service for Europeans until the 1970s.

Improved technology introduced road rollers to the use of fossil fuels. The mechanisms of internal-combustion rollers are still very similar to steam rollers, sans the use of steam. Companies first had an aversion to the machine. Internal-combustion rollers were hard to start because of the fuel being used, which was kerosene. However, it’s very uncommon nowadays to find kerosene powered road rollers. Most rollers now use diesel as the main source of fuel.


How Do Road Rollers Work?

How Do Road Rollers Work

At the core of how the road roller works, the roller drum weight is used to compress the surface that requires to be compacted. There are two kinds of rollers: the single drum and the double drum. Choosing between the two ultimately depends on the job that is required.

The single drum roller is robust and heavy duty. The back of the single drum has sturdy tires that prevent flats, perfect for construction sites and roadworks. The driver sits in the cab which is in the middle of the vehicle. It offers high visibility and mobility. It can even access tighter spaces better than its double drum counterpart. It’s optimal for prep work and can easily level surfaces. If high paving or building foundation is concerned, a single drum roller is the one for the job. It’s easy to maneuver because of its size.

The double drum roller can smooth both the front and back cab. Although they are not recommended for specialized tasks, double drum rollers work best on flat surfaces. The double drum roller is efficient at its job, and the result is a prepped and flat surface; This type of road roller is most ideal for asphalt in parking lots and other roadworks. Sections are quickly and accurately smoothed out. For heavy duty asphalt projects, the double drum roller is incredibly effective.


Types of Road Rollers

Different types of road rollers apply different levels of pressure. There are distinct types of road rollers that are used in construction and roadwork. Let’s take a look at some of the common features and their applications:


  • Rammer (bounce up and down)
  • Walk-behind plate compactor/light
  • Trench roller (manual unit or radio-frequency remote control)
  • Walk-behind roller/light (single drum)
  • Walk-behind roller/heavy (double drum)

Ride-On Smooth Finish

  • Tandem drum (static)
  • Tandem drum (vibrating)
  • Single drum roller (smooth)
  • Pneumatic-tyred Roller, a.k.a. rubber tyre or multi-wheel
  • Combination roller (single row of tyres and a steel drum)
  • Three-Point roller (steam rollers are usually three-point)

Ride-On Soil/Landfill Compactor with Pads/Feet/Spikes

  • Single drum roller (soil)
  • 4-wheel (soil/landfill)
  • 3-point (soil/landfill)
  • Tandem drum (soil/landfill)


Key Takeaway

The road roller has come a long way from steam to its diesel counterpart. The creative mind of humanity has pushed the evolution of road rollers forward. There are many competitive companies that produce different models of road rollers but a standout company lights the way for local construction needs. Multico proudly leads in offering world-class, high-quality road rollers.

Weycor by Multico Prime Power Inc. goes beyond the industry standard by providing secure safety measures. The panoramic cabin includes an ergonomic control mechanism that makes operation easy and safe. The cabin also features specialty bearings that absorb shock from vibrations. Operators stay comfortable with the air conditioning included. Multico makes sure to equip the cabin with a noise reduction windshield.

Thanks to the advanced cooling system and power reserve technology, Weycor road rollers can withstand high temperatures and long operation hours while still retaining its low emission capabilities.

With more than 20 years of experience in distributing engineering equipment, Multico Prime Power Inc. goes above and beyond to provide the best customer service experience.

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