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Soil compaction innovations being introduced

First publishedin World Highways
May 2017
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Ammann Tier 3 ASC 110
Ammann is offering the Tier 3 ASC 110 compactor with high-performance compaction tools
Major developments in soil compaction are being introduced - Mike Woof writes


With manufacturers keen to meet new regulations and deliver greater performance to customers, an array of new soil compactors are now coming to market.

One of the new developments from the Ammann Group is the unveiling of its ASC 110 Tier 3 soil compactor, which is powered by a Cummins QSG 4.5 diesel rated at 119kW and has a 2.13m-wide drum. This machine is designed to meet the needs of emergent markets where high quality fuels with low sulphur levels may not be available. A key feature of the machine is its hydrostatic drive, which allows precise operation and does away with the need for a rear axle, maximising clearance. Instead, the machine has direct hydrostatic drive to the rear wheels and a system to ensure that traction is maximised, increasing gradeability and allowing a climbing ability of 45%. Operating weight for the standard D version is 11.5tonnes, although there are also HT, HD, PD, HTPD and HDPD variants, which weigh up to 13.3tonnes.

Customers can select two optional ACE packages, which are said to help optimise performance. These systems can provide accurate measurement and documentation, precisely measuring and evaluating material stiffness. The ACEpro continuously adjusts frequency and amplitude depending on compaction measurements, as well as eliminating drum bouncing and minimising the risk of over-compaction. Meanwhile the ACEforce system shows compaction progress and includes ADS documentation software, with an office analysing feature. The firm claims that this package allows customers to use smaller, more efficient machines to deliver compaction force typically associated with larger units.

In use, the display provides the most relevant information and shows the optimal rolling speed. The unit displays compaction data which can be printed if required, while the package also helps ensure a homogenous compacted area and can highlight trouble spots early in the process

The technology can be used with machine control technology from all the major suppliers to provide mapping and operator guidance. The machine is also equipped with Ammann’s vibratory system, which offers different amplitude settings and is designed for efficiency, by driving compaction forces into the material and away from the operator

Weighing in at 11.6tonnes, the machine has a 2.13m-wide drum while other benefits include a high visibility seating position, ergonomic controls and easy access for maintenance.

Caterpillar’s soil compaction range is well established with the firm offering units delivering high performance due to optimised weight distribution and a choice of amplitudes to suit an array of applications. The machines are also said to maintain compaction consistency due to an auto-vibe function.

Key features are the compaction measurement systems, the compaction meter value (CMV) or the firm’s sophisticated machine drive power (MDP) unit, with smooth drum variants being offered with both. The CMV package is accelerometer-based, while the sophisticated MDP indicates soil stiffness by measuring rolling resistance.

A wide range of models is offered, with both smooth drum (CS) and padfoot (CP) variants available. The machines range from the 7-20tonne classes, with the CS66B particularly popular in Europe while the CS79B is designed specifically for use in lesser regulated markets.

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Hamm H series soil
Hamm is widening its range of H series soil compactors
CMI Roadbuilding is now re-entering the soil compaction market with its novel Rexpactor range of machines, which can be used for applications including road building and embankment construction. Developed from earlier designs, the three-model Rexpactor compaction line-up all feature a trademark four-wheel design. For all three units the two front wheels are mounted close together, inside the line of the rear wheels. According to the firm this design ensures that all four wheels compact a different line, providing full-width compaction in a single pass. The novel layout also ensures that the machines will not become bogged down due to un-compacted material between the wheels, according to the firm. The design is said to deliver consistent performance across the width of the drums, ensuring a uniform compaction effect and high material density.


The smallest of the three is the SP-3 model, which weighs 17.5tonnes and can deliver a load of 81,156Nm. The mid-range unit is the SP-5, which weighs in at 22.7tonnes and delivers a load of 91,212Nm. The top of the range SP-8 weighs 33tonnes and delivers a load of and 99,877Nm. All three machines share the open-ring wheel design, which is said to allow the wheel rings to sink into the ground due to static weight. The design is said to deliver compaction from the bottom up, unlike more conventional solid padfoot drums. Customer options for the Rexpactor models include a standard semi-U blade or an optional tilt blade.

Hamm is continuing the development of its soil compaction range with the introduction of the 10tonne H10i model, which slots into the line-up between the compact H7i and mid-range H11i. The firm has also updated its 12tonne and 14tonne class model, installing new engines and improved systems.

Power for the H10i comes from an 85kW diesel that offers high output, meets the latest emissions regulations and is said to offer low fuel consumption. The H10i, as well as the updated H12i and H14i class models, all feature the firm’s proven three-point articulation system, which is said to optimise traction on poor terrain by allowing the drums to stay in better contact with the ground.

All three machines benefit from Hamm’s latest telematics technology, while being offered with the choice of a version with the vibration-oscillation (VIO) compaction system. Customers can also select options including a combiscraper, dozer blade and various other additional features.

All of the H series machines come with three-point pivot articulation, to maximise drive on rough ground and feature ergonomic work stations and improved visibility. An important feature is the Easy Drive operating system, which has been designed with language-neutral controls while the compactors can be adapted to suit different operating conditions.

JCB is introducing its 116D single drum soil compactor, which is designed for customers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. With its Tier 3 compliant 85kW JCB engine, the 11.35tonne 116D is said to offer low fuel consumption, high compaction performance and improved operator comfort.

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Caterpillar’s CS66B
Caterpillar's proven CS66B is the firm's strongest seller in Europe
The 116D replaces the VM115D and delivers a static linear load of 30.7kN and a centrifugal force in the drum of up to 256kN. The firm claims that in trials the machine required up to 17% fewer passes than competing units to achieve target material density. The machine is designed to optimise the balance between its dynamic forces and its frame, maximising compaction while minimising the transfer of vibration forces into the chassis. The machine has a 2.1m drum width and a working speed of 0-5kph in both directions. Maximum travel speed is 10.5kph.


The proven JCB DieselMax four-cylinder engine has mechanical fuel injection, and can run with lower quality fuels, offering fuel savings of up to 15% against competitive machines in field trials. The machine also uses a JCB drive axle, with a limited slip differential, to boost traction.

The soil compactor comes as standard with a canopy or an optional ROPS canopy. It also comes as standard with the JCB LiveLink telematics system which allows managers to remotely access working hours, vibration and travel data. The system also provides a tracking service for improved machine security.

Sakai America says that its three latest soil compactors, the Sakai SV204, SV414TF and SV544FB, all meet the necessary Tier 4 Final emissions legislation, as well as benefiting from gains in performance and operator safety. The machines have been designed to boost safety and ease of use, with vibration damped operator stations, as well as raised exhaust stacks that direct fumes away from the drivers. The three machines are equipped with Sakai’s proprietary traction control system as well as ergonomic controls.

Drum widths range from 1.37-2.13m and the three machines are all offered with a choice of smooth or padfoot drums, as well as with the padfoot with shell-kit variants. The SV204T weighs from 4.7-5.45tonnes, depending on specification, while it is driven by a 3.3litre Kubota diesel that meets Tier 4 emissions requirements. The SV204 is equipped with Sakai’s patented drum vibration system, while it also has a vibration-isolated operator platform. The machine’s drum offers a vibration rate of 1,800vpm while it can deliver amplitudes of 1, 1.52 or 1.65 mm, depending on configuration. It has a ground clearance of 290mm with the smooth drum and 300mm for the padfoot versions, while kerb clearance is 315mm (except for the padfoot with blade version, which has a kerb clearance of 330mm).

The SV204T is being imported from Japan; however for the US market, production of the SV414TF and SV544 will commence shortly at the firm's US facility in Georgia. These will be powered by Tier 4 Final compliant Cummins diesels, the QSF2.8 and QSF3.8 units respectively. The SV414TF is a 7.8tonne class machine and takes the place of the earlier SV412. The SV414TF weighs 8.4tonnes when fitted with the padfoot drum and shell kit and has a 1.7m-wide drum, while it offers a variety of frequency and amplitude combinations. There are two frequency options: 1,800vpm and 2,280vpm, while there are two amplitude options of 0.5mm and 1mm. Ground clearance is 340mm while its kerb clearance is 440mm and side clearance is 101mm. Meanwhile the SV544FB takes over from the SV540. Users of the special SV414TF model can benefit from a choice of varying drum vibration rates, with high-frequency settings as well as a choice of two amplitudes. Aimed at the 8.4tonne class, the SV414TF is also equipped with Sakai’s novel proprietary drive system.

Volvo CE SD160B soil compactor
The SV544FB is fitted with a cab and has a 2.13m-wide drum, while it weighs in at 14.3tonnes when equipped with the padfoot drum, strike-off blade and shell kit. Sakai claims that the machine offers high-quality compaction and a wide working speed range from 4-10km/h. Frequency settings of 1,700vpm and 2,000vpm are offered, as well as amplitudes of 0.53mm or 1.24mm. Ground clearance is 470mm while kerb clearance is 565mm and side clearance is 185mm.


New from Volvo CE is the revised SD160B soil compactor, which is aimed at the 16tonne class and features a 2.1m-wide drum. According to the firm this machine is designed for high productivity in a wide range of applications and material depths. A key feature is the advanced drum control system, said to allow the operator to adjust the frequency and amplitude according to variations in soil and ground conditions. A high amplitude of 1.86mm is available as well as a low amplitude of 1.15mm, allowing the operator to match the application as well as the conditions on site. Five variable frequencies are offered as standard, allowing the operator to adapt performance to suit the working conditions. The firm says that it has optimised the delivery of centrifugal forces and auto-vibration to maximise performance, as well as ease of use. Another key feature is the Compact Assist system, which is said to offer an accurate picture of density mapping in real time. This optimises performance and minimises the risk of over-compaction.

The machine is said to be able to cope with working on gradients due to a traction system that improves gradeability and prevents the wheels or drum from spinning out. Meanwhile the design of the articulation system maximises stability and manoeuvrability on uneven terrain. Versatility is offered as the smooth drum can be switched to padfoot use by clamping on a padfoot shell. Power comes from a Tier 4 Final compliant diesel delivering 110kW and said to deliver high torque at low rpm, as well as high fuel efficiency. Passive regeneration cleans the DPF unit automatically, while the machine’s cooling system is said to be efficient and only runs when required.

Other improvements include the large cab, with good all-round view as well as the ergonomic controls. Designed to be highly durable, the machine can cope with extended operation according to the firm, meanwhile access for maintenance is also said to be good, helping reduce downtime for servicing. Diagnostics further reduce the time needed for maintenance and allow customers to better plan service intervals.

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