A compaction roller, or a road roller, is a compactor-type engineering vehicle used to compact gravel, soil, asphalt, or concrete in constructing foundations and roads. Similar types of compaction rollers are also used in agriculture or landfills.
There are parts of the world where road rollers are still colloquially known as steamrollers regardless of what the method of propulsion the machine uses. Many usually only apply this to the largest examples of compaction rollers used for road-making.
The earliest compaction rollers were pulled by horses and were probably just repurposed farm tools.
Self-powered vehicles replaced the horse-drawn compaction rollers from the mid-19th century because the effectiveness of a roller depends largely on its weight. The first versions of these vehicles were the steamrollers; single-cylinder steam-powered vehicles generally used for base compaction.
These steamrollers were run with high engine revs in a low gear to encourage bounce and vibration from the crankshaft through to the roller in a similar way as a vibrating roller.
The double cylinder or compound steamrollers gained popularity from around 1910 onwards. They were primarily used for the rolling of hot-laid surfaces because of their smoother running engines, although both cylinder types were capable of rolling the finished surface.
Steamrollers were usually relegated to one task by their gearing: the slower engines were used for base compaction while the higher-geared models, often referred to as “chip chasers”, followed behind hot tar and chipping laying machines.
In the United States, some road companies used steamrollers through the 1950s and in the UK, some remained in commercial service until the early 1970s.
Kerosene-, gasoline-, and diesel-powered compacting rollers slowly replaced their steam-powered counterparts as internal combustion engine technology improved during the 20th century.
The first internal-combustion powered compaction rollers were quite similar to the steamrollers they replaced. They made use of similar mechanisms to transmit power to the wheels from the engine safely using large, exposed spur gear.
There were some users who did not like the shift from steam though, as the engines of this era were usually difficult to start.
Nowadays, almost all steamrollers in commercial use are powered by diesel.
Road Usage from Start-To-Finish
Compacting rollers use either the weight of the vehicle to compress the surface being rolled on, or use the mechanical advantage of vibrating.
Early compaction of the substrate on a road is done usually using a padfoot drum roller; this achieves higher compaction density because the pads have less surface area.
A large four-wheel compactor with a padfoot drum and a blade would be used on large freeways because of its high speed, weight, and the powerful pushing force to spread a large amount of material.
On regional roads, on the other hand, a smaller single padfoot drum machine may be used.
The next machine used in the road-making process is usually a single smooth drum compactor that compacts the high spots down until the soil is smooth. This is usually done in tandem with a motor grader to get an even, level surface and sometimes a pneumatic tire roller would also be used.
These compaction rollers feature two rows, front and back, of pneumatic tires that overlap. The flexibility of the tires provides a kneading action that can seal the surface
and, along with the vertical movement of the wheels, allows the roller to operate effectively even if the ground is not even.
Once the base of the soil is flat, the pad drum compactor is no longer used on the surface of the road. The next course would be compacted using a smooth single drum, smooth tandem roller, or pneumatic tire roller along with a grader and a water truck to achieve the flat surface needed with the correct moisture content for good compaction.
Types and Specifications
A compaction roller can be as simple as a 100-pound drum with a handle that is operated by one person, or as large as a ride-on-road roller weighing 22 tons and costing more than $150,000. Some landfill units can even weigh as much as 59 tons.
The following is a list of the types of compaction rollers:
Operated by pedestrians:
- Rammer (can bounce up and down)
- Walk-behind plate compactor (light)
- Trench roller (manual unit or radio-frequency remote-controlled)
- 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-tired roller (rubber tire or multi-wheel)
- Combination roller (single row of tires and a steel drum)
- Three-point roller (steamrollers are usually three-point)
Ride-on soil and landfill compactor with pads/feet/spikes:
- Single drum roller (soil)
- 4-wheel (soil and landfill)
- 3-point (soil and landfill)
- Tandem drum (soil and landfill)
- Tractor-mounted and tractor-powered
- Drawn rollers or towed rollers (were very common once, but not so much now)
- Impact compactor (uses a square or polygon drum to hit the ground hard for proof rolling or deep lift compaction)
- Drum roller with rubber coated drum (for asphalt compaction)
- Log skidder (converted to compactor for landfill)
- Wheel loader (converted to compactor for landfill)
Drums are available in widths that range from 24 to 84 inches. Tire rollers are available in widths that range up to 2.7 meters with between 7 and 11 wheels. Seven and eight wheel types are commonly used in Europe and Africa, nine and eleven in America, and any type in Asia. Very heavy tire rollers are used to compact soil.
Weycor: Powerful, Precise, and Reliable
Weycor, one of the world’s leading producers of compaction rollers in the world, and their products are available here in our country thanks to Multico Prime Power Inc.
Weycor tandem and compaction rollers are distinguished by their technical excellence, power, reliability, and the quality that lives up to the “Made in Germany” tag. They also exceed the currently applicable emission standards in their respective industries.
The technical highlights of Weycor produced compact rollers include:
Comfortable Panoramic Cabin
The ergonomic arrangement of the operating controls, the steering column, and the compaction measurement devices make sure that operators are safe and help prevent tiredness.
The cabin also has special bearings to serve as a cushion from vibrations and also comes equipped with air conditioning. The windshield reflects sound waves and reduces the noise level thanks to its innovative design.
360-Degree View for Optimal Safety
A chamfered engine hood, ROPS cabin with individually adjustable operating elements, and a very compact design establishes excellent circumferential visibility, even in reverse gear.
The low-emission, state-of-the-art diesel engines that Weycor uses in all their compaction rollers are up to the standards set by every day, heavy-duty operation. It has substantial power reserves and an efficient water cooling system to ensure you don’t run into trouble even at extreme outside temperatures up to 55 degrees.
Determine the kind and amount of work you are about to do. Contact Multico today and have a look at our range of Weycor compaction rollers for all your needs.
Let us help you find the perfect Weycor compaction roller and get the job done!