In most situations, pneumatic rollers are used as the intermediate roller in a paving train following between 50-100 ft. behind the breakdown roller.
“Most guys buy a pneumatic roller to complement their use of a steel drum roller,” Wilkens says. “They might do some compacting with a steel drum roller, and as they approach the end they may run over that same asphalt with a pneumatic roller to improve the overall finish of the material.”
Pneumatic rollers can be used on a variety of different projects such as subdivision streets, large parking lots, and driveways. Pneumatic rollers are also used on chipseal projects. “When you do chipseal if the rocks, chips, or small aggregate that you put in the oil are rolled with a steel drum roller you will crush and break the rock,” Wilkens says. “Pneumatic rubber-tired rollers will set the rock into the oil a little bit more and the points or the edges of the rock won’t be broken by the rubber tires.”
Connolly adds that pneumatic rollers can be used effectively on projects other than hot mix asphalt paving. “A lot of times these machines will find themselves on different types of material,” he says. “Anything that is tough to move, particle wise, you will find a pneumatic.”
Before purchasing a pneumatic roller, contractors should consider several points such as the asphalt mix they are using, the types of projects they are completing, and the equipment their competition is using.
“One consideration would be what asphalt mix they are using and what target density requirement they are on,” Monical says. “It’s really a matter of what the job is and if the job would require them to have a pneumatic rubber tire roller.”
Connolly says that contractors should consider purchasing a pneumatic roller when they find themselves unsatisfied with the results of a conventional paving train.
According to Connolly, customers today are looking for longer-lasting mix designs, as a result the mix designs are getting stiffer. Due to the stiffer mix designs compaction is more challenging to achieve, and over-rolling with a steel drum will result in breaking aggregate, Connolly says.
“If I’ve got a tougher mix design, if I’m having problems getting density with the double-drum vibratory roller, or if I’m over compacting to get density and I’m crushing the aggregate, my solution is the pneumatic tire roller,” Connolly says.
While requirements of the job will factor into any decision to add a pneumatic roller to your fleet, Chastain says that contractors should look at their competitors. “It’s a situation many times of what is the competition doing, first off, and being able to compete with the competition on the quality of work,” he says. “Ideally, every asphalt-paving contractor would be running a pneumatic roller, [but some] customers are kind of forced into the situation to be competitive.”
Chastain says that the benefits to using a pneumatic roller are there, but they aren’t always seen immediately.
Benefits of Buying
Bomag offers contractors three pneumatic rollers: the BW11RH, the BW24RH, and the BW27RH. The BW11RH has nine tires with a Cummins 4B3.3TA diesel engine. The other two units, the BW24RH and BW27RH, have eight tires and can be ballasted to provide specified weights. The BW11RH weighs 9,000 lbs. and features Spring-Applied, Hydraulic-Released brakes, a hydrostatic transmission, and a 150 gal. polyethylene water tank.
If contractors are looking for a smaller unit, Shannon Chastain’s Model 700 pneumatic roller is one possibility. “Our number one goal in designing any equipment is to make it as simple as possible,” Chastain says. “Jobsite breakdowns and repair work are all as simple as possible and as minimal as possible.” The Model 700 is a 1½-3 ton class roller weighing 3,000 to 6,000 lbs. It features hydrostatic drive and all-wheel oscillation with seven tires.
Another unit contractors working on parking lots and low-volume roads can consider is the Leeboy 420, which features four front tires and five rear tires with a 39 hp Kubota engine. The small size of the unit makes it especially easy for contractors to maneuver in small areas being able to make small, sharp turns.