What’s a vib plate compactor?

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The vibratory plate compactor is a common tool used for soil and asphalt compaction. It features a large plate that vibrates to create a centrifugal force. The best design depends on the job, with smaller walk-behind models suitable for limited spaces and larger models mounted on excavators for higher compaction forces. Some models have an irrigation system to prevent sticking to asphalt. The weight of the machine can make it difficult to transport.

On construction sites and DIY jobs, one of the most common tools used for soil compaction or other fine particulate compaction is the vibratory plate compactor. This tool can also be used on asphalt, so for some types of paving projects the vibratory plate compactor is likely to be in place. This machine features a large, flat plate mounted to the bottom of an engine and frame. The plate is in direct contact with the ground and when the machine is activated, the plate will vibrate at high speed to create a centrifugal force to compact the materials.

There are several designs for the vibratory plate compactor and the best design for a specific user will depend on the type of job being performed. The smaller vibratory plate compactor models are walk-behind machines, which means that the user will control the machine by grabbing a handle and walking behind the unit. Such a machine is suitable for smaller projects that require compaction in a limited amount of space. It is also suitable for detail work on larger projects. To provide higher compaction forces or to cover larger areas, a larger plate compactor can be mounted on an excavator. The excavator is a big heavy machinery with a hydraulic arm that can move the exceptionally heavy compactor easily and accurately.

When the machine is used for asphalt compaction, one of the problems that the user may encounter is the sticking or adhesion of the bituminous material to the bottom of the plate. This can cause damage to the asphalt, slowing down or stalling your project. To counteract this problem, some vibratory plate compactor models will be equipped with an irrigation system that will keep the bottom of the plate moist during use. A wet plate is less likely to stick to the asphalt, thus preventing damage and delays.

While the weight of the machine is necessary to provide adequate compaction, it can also be considered one of the drawbacks of the vibratory plate compactor. The machine can be difficult to transport, especially when it is switched off, and two people are usually needed to transport the machine to a job site. Once the machine is turned on, the vibrations of the platter will make moving the machine easy enough, but when the platter is stationary, the machine will not help the user move the bulk of it.

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