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Soil compaction advances from key firms

First publishedin World Highways
2017 November December
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Volvo CE's latest compact soil compactor offers high productivity for its class
The pace of development continues in the soil compaction sector, with key firms rolling out new machines - Mike Woof reports


New soil compaction technology is now being offered by several key manufacturers. Improved machines and new systems to boost performance are being offered by various firms. From BOMAG comes the availability of its Economizer system for its soil compactors. The technology has been well-proven in the BOMAG twin drum asphalt compactors as well as on the reversible plates and trench compactors for boosting the quality of compaction jobs. As a result, the firm is now extending this technology to its latest generation soil compactor range as an option.

The firm opted to make this offering following a survey of its customers, which showed that the Economizer measuring technology has proven successful in compaction work. The system is claimed to be easy to use and does not require any activation or calibration and nor does its use necessitate any operator training. The display has a light strip that expands progressively with the degree of compaction showing working progress to the operator and warning against over-compaction. According to BOMAG, the system is a cost-effective method for measuring soil compaction and is being offered on models including the SDR-5, SDR-40/-4 and BW 124-5.

Volvo CE says that its new SD45B soil compactor will offer long-lasting performance and versatility as well as low running costs. This is a compact machine designed for applications such as commercial and residential site development, utility installations, driveways and landscaping jobs.

Its design allows up to 12° of oscillation and 41° of frame articulation in each direction, while the machine is said to offer stability and versatility for operation in confined areas. The machine is offered with an optional strike-off blade and padfoot shell kit to extend its capabilities. The integrated traction system optimises climbing capabilities on steep inclines or slippery surfaces while the machine also has a NoSPIN differential that limits wheel or drum spin.

The machine has a drum system that allows the user to reach target density in fewer passes through he combination of a heavy drum, high amplitude of 1.99mm and a high centrifugal force of 93kN. When the machine is returned to neutral, the vibration system also shuts off, preventing over-compaction.

Power comes from a Volvo Tier 4 Final/Stage IV-compliant D3.3 engine that delivers 55kW and high torque at low engine speeds, for fuel efficiency. When controls are inactive for more than five seconds, the automatic idle feature reduces the engine speed, decreasing fuel consumption.

Operator safety is said to be maximised due to the ROPS/FOPS canopy, for example, which offers protection as well as all-round visibility. The machine shares the same ergonomic control layout as larger soil compactors in the range.

Due to its compact size, the Volvo SD45B can be easily moved around jobsites or loaded onto a transport vehicle without removing components, further suiting it to the rental market. For added efficiency, the two-piece, clamp-on padfoot shell kit can be installed or removed in less than an hour, and fits any SD45 single drum compactor.

Efficient from the ground up, the machine is said to be designed for quick and safe serviceability, with minimal maintenance costs. The machine weighs in at 4.95tonnes for the canopy version and 5.3tonnes for the cab version. It delivers a centrifugal force of up to 75kN and has a vibration frequency of 27.5Hz, while the drum is 1.37m wide.

At the other end of the soil compaction scale, Zoomlion’s ZR5326 is a high output machine designed for use in large projects. This 26tonne single drum roller is powered by a 174kW Deutz diesel, a significant increase from the 160kW of the model being replaced. Productivity and performance have been increased according to the firm. Also in the new soil compactor range are models weighing 20, 22, 25 and 36tonnes.

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