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Different types of Soil Compaction Equipment

A soil compactor is a machine or mechanism used to reduce the size of material such as waste material or biomass through compaction. For the improvement of soil properties, e.g., density, water content or gradation, compaction is necessary in the construction of embankment, road, sub-grades, earth dams, etc.

Purpose of  different types of soil compaction equipment

Compaction helps to reduce the settlement, permeability, seepage, etc. During compaction, air is expelled from the void spaces in the soil mass which increases the density. Compaction generally increases the shear strength, bearing capacity and makes the soil more stable against the structure failure. Narrowed below are few reasons for compaction.

  • To reduce subsequent settlement under working loads.
  • To increase the shear strength of the soil.
  • To reduce the voids ratio making it more difficult for water to flow through soil.
  • To prevent the build up of large water pressures that cause soil to liquefy during earthquakes.

Variation in Different types of soil compaction equipment

Deciding on the type of compaction equipment is mainly dependent upon-Water content of the soil, the type of soil being compacted and the amount of compactive energy used.  The degree of compaction is inversely proportional to the layer thickness. Therefore, it is very important to decide the right thickness of each layer to achieve the desired density. Given below are a few of the most used compaction equipment in construction.

Rammer- Rammer, or trench rammer, is mainly used to compact the backfill in narrow trenches for water or gas supply pipes etc. Rammers are suitable for compacting cohesive soils as well as other soils. This machine in areas with difficulty in access.

Vibratory Plate compactors- Vibratory-plate compactors are used to compact loose materials such as granular soils, gravel, small aggregate etc. These construction equipment used engine-driven exciter mechanism that causes the machine’s base plate to rapidly vibrate, thus moving soil particles and asphalt aggregates closer together to effect consolidation.

Landfill Compactors- These employ various types of wedges and cruciform shapes designed to disaggregate solid waste and integrate it with soil fill.

Smooth Drum Rollers – Smooth drum rollers evolved from steam powered road rollers of the 1800s. Smooth drum rollers work best for well-graded granular soils of low plasticity, gravel subbase mixtures, and A/C pavements.

Padfoot rollers- Padfoot rollers generate static pressure, vibration, and impact on the materials. This allows for uniform compaction during the entire process. These rollers, also called tamping foot rollers, have tapered pads that penetrate and compact the soil to build up the soil’s strength. Gravity and the vibrations compact the material from the top down.

Sheepsfoot rollers- Sheepsfoot rollers consist of a steel drum on which round or rectangular protrusions known as ‘lugs’ or ‘feet’ are fixed. There are different types of lug, such as spindle-shaped with widened base, prismatic and clubfoot. Rollers can also be static or vibratory. They are commonly used for compacting fine-grained soils such as heavy and silty clays. They are often used for compacting soils in dams, embankments and subgrade layers in pavements, road and railway projects.

Pneumatic tired rollers- The pneumatic-tired rollers are widely used for compaction of subgrades, bases, bituminous mixes, and many types of material. They have rubber tires instead of steel tires or drums and generally feature two tandem axles, with three or four tires on the front axle and four or five tires on the rear.

Grid rollers- Grid rollers have a cylindrical heavy steel surface comprising a network of steel bars which form a grid with square-shaped holes. They are typically used for the compaction of well-graded coarse soils and weathered rocks, often in subgrade and sub-base road projects. They are not suitable for clayey soils, silty clays or uniform soils.

Features of  Different types of soil compaction equipment

Densification of soils during construction of embankments and subgrades is achieved by compaction. Higher density of embankments and subgrades is achieved by compacting the soil by rollers, therefore selection of correct compaction equipment is necessary. Manufacturers across the globe are modifying their compactors to cater new advancements for customers. Each manufacturer has a different USP. But we have discussed below some common features of a soil compactor.

  • Soil compactors help in making the soil apt for road construction.
  • The soil particles are reoriented and made compact by the heavy weight of the soil compactor.
  • Adoptable  for long working hours at tough applications
  • Compactor adopt to varying soils and aggregates in applications such as highways, utilities, water retention structures, as well as in large residential, commercial and industrial site preparation.
  • Compactors have good climbing power, high centrifugal forces and a good visibility to provide you with superior productivity and power.
  • A good compaction equipment offers easy operation and outstanding serviceability.
  • Soil Compactors are easy to operate, easy to maintain and easy on the operator
  • Compactors can be mounted on excavators and backhoe machinery. It compact every type of material
  • Soil compactors are easy maintenance equipment
  • Many retail and service businesses, such as fast food, restaurants, and hotels, use compactors to reduce the volume of non-recyclable waste as well as curb nuisance such as rodents and smell.
  • In the hospitality industry tolerance for such nuisances is particularly low. These compactors typically come in electric and hydraulic operation, with quite a few loading configurations.
  • There are also trash compactors, hydraulic or manual, designed for residential use. Likewise, they reduce the volume of garbage.
  • In addition to the waste vehicle and landfill use, there are solar-powered trash compactors that can hold the equivalent of 200 gallons of trash before they need to be emptied
  • Soil Compactor can be adjusted smaller road construction or landscaping sites
  • Monitoring system that uses sensors to measure soil stiffness and indicate compaction progress can easily be adjusted in these construction equipments

Potential of  Different types of soil compaction equipment

Compactors are now being deployed for a wide range of applications such as home businesses, construction projects, land filling and soil compaction.

The rise in construction in smart cities, also the increase in transport construction acts as a major driver for the market. Also, the rapid urbanization fuels the demand for compaction equipment market as it gives rise to a large number of demolition sites and new construction sites. Besides, the growth in trend of the equipment rental business creates huge future opportunities.

Market research future published a raw research report on Global compactors market that contains the information from 2016 to 2022. Compactors market is expected to grow with a CAGR of approximately 3% till 2022

According to esticastresearch, in the current scenario, landfill compactors are being highly adopted for the proper spreading and distribution of waste material and then compress it making it compatible for smaller area, in order to avoid unnecessary wastage of land. Moreover, compaction of trash also helps in the keeping away unwanted rodents and bacteria and curbing the pungent smell which occurs due to the degradation of organic waste.

According to,  with the increasing focus on urban development and better connectivity, Indian Government is investing heavily to strengthen its transport infrastructure. Policies such as re-surfacing of roads in specific time period has increased the demand for construction raw material as well as construction equipment. In China, the ‘one belt, one road’ initiative is playing a prominent role in the rapid expansion of transport infrastructure in China and stretches to Central Asia, Middle East and Europe. Significant investments in the construction of roads & highways and pivotal role of compaction equipment in road infrastructure are generating lucrative avenues in Asia Pacific for soil compaction machines manufacturers.

Various types of soil compaction equipment are utilized in construction and civil engineering projects to enhance the density and stability of soil layers. These include vibratory rollers, plate compactors, sheepsfoot rollers, and pneumatic-tired rollers. Vibratory rollers, equipped with vibrating drums, efficiently compact soil through dynamic forces. Plate compactors exert pressure downwards through a vibrating plate, ideal for compacting small areas. Sheepsfoot rollers feature protruding lugs or feet that penetrate and compact soil effectively. Pneumatic-tired rollers, utilizing rubber tires, are versatile for both soil and asphalt compaction. To mitigate vibrations and ensure stability, anti vibration pads for heavy machinery are employed, minimizing the impact on operators and surrounding structures while maximizing efficiency in compaction tasks.


Apart from that, a continuous and rapid growth in the new infrastructural and construction activities, especially in the developing countries is fueling the demand for soil compactors. This is because, soil compaction is one of the crucial step for any construction project. Soil compaction is usually done to support structural parts such as building foundations, roads, footpaths, and various others


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