For contractors in the market for an asphalt roller, not just any model or size will do. As with any large purchase, you will have to match the machine to the application and keep an eye on future growth plans. What is adequate today may be outsized as your company grows with the market.
But despite growth plans, market conditions, and other variables, pavement maintenance contractors looking for a new or used roller have a wide selection from which to choose, and size is only one consideration.
Contractors can choose from static steel wheel, vibratory, and pneumatic (rubber tire) rollers. They can purchase rollers that bend in the middle to accommodate tight turns, that have both front and rear drive for hilly terrain, and that are versatile enough to be employed on small patch jobs, bike paths, driveways, parking lots, municipal streets, roads, and highways.
They all have their place in the market, says Dave Dennison, Bomag product manager. "The pneumatic rollers in our product lineup, for example, are among our heaviest and biggest machines we offer. They are used primarily, but not exclusively, for asphalt compaction on highways. The static weight of the machine, in combination with the rubber tires, creates the kneading effect, which tightly packs together the asphalt and aggregate by removing air voids.
"Tandem drum rollers can be used to compact base and asphalt materials. Shutting off the vibratory rear drum also gives them the ability to compact and apply the finishing touch on asphalt patches."
One of Bomag's more versatile vibratory drum rollers is the BW120 AD-4. This 47-in. model has an operating weight of 5,700 lbs. and is fairly compact, measuring less than 98 in. long. It features a 33.8-hp water-cooled Kubota diesel engine, and both the operator's platform and the drums are vibration isolated so the compaction force is concentrated into the material. Dennison says this adds longevity to the machine and ensures operator comfort. A dual vibration frequency setting - higher setting at 4200 for asphalt work and lower setting of 3300 for base work, adds to the machine's versatility.
The BW120 AD-4 features articulated steering and seven degrees of oscillation allowing the drums to stay in contact with uneven surfaces when doing base work. It also features an enclosed spray bar that protects it from being damaged and minimizes wind effect on the spray. A sliding seat and forward-slanting drum support legs offer great operator visibility.
For smaller paving projects, Specialty Asphalt Products offers The Eliminator Zero Clearance Roller, powered by a 15-hp Honda engine. "The unit has been on the market for 1 ½ years," says Larry Raymond, president of Specialty Asphalt Products. "One of its unique features is a three-piece front drum that eliminates the need for a drum support frame. The absence of a frame allows operators to get close to the sides of buildings or other structures, eliminating the time and labor associated with using a plate compactor."
The Eliminator Zero Clearance Roller is dual drive for powering up inclines, articulated (with an 82-in. inside turning radius) for maneuverability, and features infinite forward and reverse speed control. "Another interesting feature is a pressurized water system with a 10-micron filter. To my knowledge, we have yet to experience a plugged nozzle," Raymond says.
Ease of maneuverability is also a trademark of Wacker Neuson's RD12 and RD16 rollers. "These are tremendously popular rollers for us," says Jim Layton, Wacker Neuson marketing communications. "Their small drum width of 35.4 in. allows them to be used in rather tight spaces, and they're also ideal for compacting bike paths and driveways.
"These compact rollers provide great visibility. They feature dual hydrostatic drive with infinite forward and reverse speeds and articulated steering for maneuverability."