The effort to reduce HAV, in particular, originated in Europe, where regulations are more strict with regard to ergonomics. As a result, manufacturers such as Weber MT and Atlas Copco have introduced patented or trademarked solutions to further remove the operator from the vibrations of the machine, while still allowing precise control of the unit.
Likewise, selected models of Multiquip rammers and vibratory plates are equipped with handle designs that improve operator comfort by reducing vibration, while BOMAG tampers and reversible plate compactors also have vibration-isolating handles that are also height-adjustable to suit different operators.
Vibration isolation is the single most important factor in improving ergonomics and operator comfort on compaction equipment, Schulenberg says, adding, “We’re always experimenting with new materials and machine configurations in order to develop the lowest-vibration environment possible without sacrificing the control of the machine.”
Engines that stand up to compaction
Engine technology is currently a very heated topic, as manufacturers of larger pieces of equipment struggle with meeting Tier IV regulations while maintaining the performance of their machines.
“All engine designs are being impacted by increasing emissions regulations,” Schulenberg says. “Larger diesel engines are going to start using common rail injection, turbochargers and particulate filters in order to meet Tier IV regulations. Small engines are affected as well.”
On smaller types of compaction equipment, such as rammers, for example, there are unique engine concerns. To meet the demand for a durable rammer engine, Subaru developed its ER12 model with this application in mind.
Multiquip’s Mikasa MTX70SD rammers are now powered by the new Subaru ER12 engines, Quiros notes. “The machines avoid engine issues with an oil protection system and a longer maintenance cycle, which is 50 percent longer on oil replacements. They offer an easier start with a digital ignition system and high performance, even in high-altitude applications with a lower need for high-altitude adjustments. In addition to a low-noise engine design, there is an automatic engine shut down if the unit falls over or idles for longer than five minutes.”
Witt from Weber adds, “Clearly the ER12 from Subaru is the latest in engine design specifically for rammer/jumping jack applications. It dramatically improves the balancing of the unit and incorporates features such as an ongoing low-oil warning sensor (i.e., not just upon start-up). Weber MT’s SRV650 rammers are now powered by this new Subaru ER12 engine.”
For its part, Wacker Neuson is the only manufacturer to retain a two-stroke rammer engine, Schulenberg points out. “Wacker Neuson improved the WM80 cylinder design and added after treatment to not only continue offering the WM80, but to convert it into the lowest total emission rammer engine available.”
Designed for durability
In rental applications, there are few machine attributes as important as durability. With this in mind, manufacturers are designing compaction equipment that can go the distance.
“For both single-direction and reversible plates, the trend is toward casting the base plate and the eccentric housing all in one unit,” says Witt. “While the cost of a potential replacement base plate in the future would be higher, this is more than offset by multiple advantages: First, the all-in-one cast removes any bolts that fasten the eccentric housing to the plate and thus, eliminates a potential source of failure such as loosening or broken bolts. It also decreases maintenance and repair time and thus, puts a machine back into (rental) operation sooner. Thirdly, it lowers the center of gravity as the eccentric weight is closer to the ground which dramatically improves compaction capabilities, climbing characteristics and overall control of the machine.”
All three of Weber MT’s single-direction plate models have been redesigned to incorporate this technology, and the company will complete the transition for reversible units within 12 months, Witt says.
“The rental market can be an abusive environmental for equipment, so we’ve put a lot of emphasis on making BOMAG products more durable to protect internal components and maximize longevity,” says Stenz. “For example, our BMP8500 articulated trench roller utilizes a highly damage-resistant composite material for the engine hood.”