Making Construction Simple: A Practical Guide to Road Rollers
Road rollers are iconic in the construction industry. In history, they started out as simple stone cylinders being pulled by people to flatten the earth a bit, soon they made animals pull large stone cylinders or wooden planks as a means to flatten the earth. And then when the age of metal came, the rollers finally came into play.
This piece of heavy equipment is one of the most common machines to find in construction sites, mainly because they are mostly used at the beginning stages when the foundation of the building is being built. There’s a lot to know about the road roller, so if you’re interested in this machine, continue reading below!
What is a Road Roller?
A staple in the construction industry, the roller, also known as a vibratory compactor or a steamroller is one of the most important pieces of heavy equipment. The standard model usually has a drum in front that is used to crush and flatten materials. It’s mostly used to compact soil, gravel, asphalt and a number of other construction materials or debris.
The most common use for road rollers is for construction sites and other projects that involve compaction and flattening of large areas. It’s a key machine for when contractors need to make large, stable and dense foundations for big areas.
For the most part, road rollers are arguably a niche machine. They typically have just one purpose alone, and that is to make the land or the materials laid out on a construction site compact enough to be considered a stable foundation for construction. There isn’t anything quite like the modern day road roller when it comes to compaction capabilities, that said, there are a wide variety of road rollers in the market, all of which have their own specializations when it comes to construction.
Single vs. Double Drum
Before diving deeper on the more specific types of road rollers, you must first understand the difference between its two general classifications: the single drum roller, and the double drum roller.
These two are obviously different—based on the number of giant, cylindrical wheels they have. With this in mind, most people would rule out that the double drum roller would be way better because technically it can flatten more materials at the same time.
However, much like most heavy equipment, the class of road roller you need depends largely on what the construction is.
Single Drum Roller
Starting with the single drum roller, this is considered to be a heavy-duty machine. It has in its front a large drum which is supported by some special tires at the back. Because of the usual nature of the work, these tires are sturdier and able to prevent any kind of problem before, during, and after a job.
It’s very important that they are equipped with heavy-duty tires when you work in construction sites.
A single drum roller is perfect for smaller projects. Because of its smaller size when compared with the double drum roller, this is much preferred for when you need to work in tighter spaces.
In most cases, the main use of a single drum roller is for prep work. it’s a great option for initially leveling the ground for a sidewalk or driveway. You can also find these being used for the pavement of highways or the creation of foundations for buildings.
Keep in mind that the single drum roller is heavier at the front, simply because of the drum being placed there. thanks to the wheels at the back, however, it still has decent maneuverability.
Double Drum Roller
The main difference between the two rollers is that the double drum roller sacrifices its rear tires for another giant drum for compaction. Choosing between the two would still depend a lot on the job that you have.
Double drum rollers can smooth things out both in front and behind the main cab. Since there are drums in front and behind the roller, it’s basically flattening everything it goes through as it moves.
However, this does mean that it lacks maneuverability that the single drum roller provides. Because of this, its applications would usually be just for flattening services or those that have a gradual grading. They’re not recommended for any kind of specialized work.
The main benefit of using a double drum roller is its increased efficiency and sheer power. As you steer at across the construction site, your flattening and preparing the area twice, making it double as efficient as a single drum roller.
Their best application is with asphalt. With road projects that need to be finished fast, the efficiency that double drum rollers provide quickens the project without sacrificing the quality of the work.
You can also find double drum rollers in a lot of parking lots and basically any kind of roadwork. Their design and features make them perfect for making these structures compact, consistent, and stable all around.
At the end of the day, choosing between single drum rollers and double drum rollers is more like deciding between maneuverability and power efficiency. That being said, both of these classifications have their uses. In fact, there are some construction projects that would make use of both these machines!
Types of Road Rollers
Every road roller is either a single drum roller or a double drum roller by design, however, these can further be classified into more specific types that have particular applications in multiple industries. Take a look at some of the most popular types of road rollers today.
These are the most common rollers used today. They have the traditional cylinder drum and are the most basic type of road roller. Most of these are just single drum rollers, though there are often designs that make use of two drums.
They are also known as smooth wheeled rollers. These type of road rollers are mostly used for consolidating stone or other similar materials into flat land. They are believed to work best when you also use surface dressings to create an even smoother, flatter surface.
Visually, a vibratory roller isn’t much different from the cylinder roller. What differentiates it is an internal eccentric shaft that causes the wheel drums to vibrate. Its vibratory function enhances it functionalities by a lot. This makes them more commonly used in applications with granular base layers. Sometimes, they’re also used in laying asphalt in highway construction.
The vibratory features help reduce the space between particles in the materials being compacted, creating denser layers to add greater depth to the foundation. The vibrations also cause the particles to lie closer together as they’re pushed into place by the oscillations from it.
They are slightly more expensive than the standard cylinder roller. However, keep in mind that this is because of its improved performance and efficiency since it won’t need as many passes across the site achieve good results.
Their ability to compact layers to a greater depth when compared to the cylinder roller is what makes them the choice of many construction companies for their projects.
These types of rollers move away from the typical wheel drums and instead has several rows of closely spaced pneumatic tires both in front and at the back of the machine. These tires are also staggered to exert compacting pressure across the full width of the machine
These kinds of rollers are best used on soft materials and loosely compacted soils. That being said, they are also found in highway construction, particularly for when they start smoothing bitumen on some roadworks.
With its usual weight of six to ten tons, it is relatively light for a road roller, that’s why it’s fairly easy to increase its weight through the process of ballasting. It’s also worth pointing out that the tires installed on these road rollers can be inflated to reach the required pressure automatically.
These road rollers are speedy ones. Some can reach speeds up to 24 km/ph. Because of this, they can achieve the required compacting density with eight passes, making them efficient for some projects.
When compared to the typical road rollers, the rubber-tired roller is the quick and frequent machine, while the traditional ones are the slow and steady equipment.
These types of road rollers are unique when it comes to their wheel drums. These are studded with lugs that are usually rectangular in shape and arranged in a rather hexagonal pattern. Some designed have different shaped lugs, though, in actuality, their shape isn’t that important.
These tamping rollers are also called sheep foot rollers and are normally used in projects that have to work with heavy soils such as clay. This is because the overall surface area of the drum that’s in contact with the soil at any one point in time is projected to be around 8 to 12%.
Another unique thing about this roller is that the main drum is relatively lightweight. These are what most prefer, especially for use in embankments or similar sloping grounds.
For the tamping roller to achieve the maximum amount of compaction, it needs to undergo 10 to 12 pass throughs—depending on the soil type and the weight of the roller. They can also be static or vibratory.
Road Roller Maintenance Tips
Just like other heavy equipment, it’s very important for you to ensure that the road roller regularly maintained so as to prevent any kind of problems related to the machine itself from happening while on the job.
Expert maintenance can be provided by the manufacturers and suppliers of road rollers, and oftentimes road roller owners are required to report for maintenance check-ups regularly.
That being said, there are a few things that you have to know when it comes to the maintenance of road rollers:
Daily Maintenance Checks
The first thing that you do when it’s time for your road roller’s maintenance is to have a short look around the machine. The first thing that you should look for is any visual abnormalities.
After a short visual inspection, you should check out the cab along with the main levers, buttons, switches, and the likes to make sure that all operational functions are good and in no need of repairs.
It’s no secret that the most important part of the road roller is its wheel drum. During the visual inspection, you have to make sure that there aren’t any weird dings on its surface. Once you’re sure that it’s free from any sort of dust and dirt, then you have to make sure that it’s clean and well lubricated. Keep in mind that the drum needs to be in perfect condition so that it will continue to perform nicely in its tasks.
Whether or not it’s a static drum or a drum that has an oscillatory or vibratory system, you have to make sure that it’s well lubricated, and the systems are functioning properly. You should also check its oil levels on a weekly basis to ensure that they aren’t getting too low.
Inspect the Water System
It’s very important to have the water system at optimal condition because it’s basically the only protection you have against the materials being compacted such as soil and asphalt from sticking to the drum.
Make sure that you always fill the tank with clean water from a reliable source. Afterward, make sure that the spray system is functional. Make sure that the nozzles spray evenly on the drum.
Check the Hydraulic System
This is one of the larger investments in your road roller. You must actively check the hydraulic oil levels inside the engine compartment. This needs to be changed over time. After around 1000 to 2000 hours of use, it might be best for you to change the oil, especially if it starts looking dark and dingy.
Inspect Shock Mounts
These are an important part of the roller. The shock mounts are the rubber mounts that isolate the vibration of the drum from the operator, if it’s damaged, then the vibrations will run through the whole machine, even making the operator feel it constantly.
Check them regularly for damages such as cracks and tears. And replace them as soon as you see the damage.
High-Quality Rollers with Multico
If you’re on the lookout for road rollers, forklifts, or other machines for your next construction project, then look no further. With Multico, you’ll be provided with world-class road rollers and other heavy equipment in the Philippines!
The road rollers we provided are state-of-the-art and a cut above the rest. You can learn more by visiting our website!
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