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Tandem compactor

Creating Roads: How Road Construction Can Be More Complicated Than You Think

It’s easy to pass a road work area and be completely baffled by the equipment used. Construction projects, especially on the road, often use highly specialised machinery that most people will never be exposed to.

Among these uncommon devices is the asphalt compactor (tandem). Many roads across the globe are made of asphalt concrete, and therefore require asphalt compactors to be completed. Asphalt concrete is an aggregate material, which often contains sand, gravel, and other materials. Asphalt itself is a binding agent that keeps all of the other materials together.

In order to create a road that is as solid and reliable as possible, the asphalt concrete must be compressed and compacted before it cures. This is where the asphalt compactor (tandem) comes in. The average asphalt compactor looks something like a small bulldozer without a scoop that rolls on two large metal cylinders. The compactor is rolled over the still-melted asphalt, compressing all of the materials and making the concrete itself much, much stronger.

Tandem compactor

Tandem compactor

However, it is not simply a matter of rolling a compactor over asphalt one time and being done. Roads must be compacted multiple times in order to reach a point where they are safe to drive on. However, it’s difficult to get an asphalt compactor to roll over the exact same section of road over and over, and mistakes at this stage of construction can lead to over compressed or under compressed asphalt, which can create major issues down the line.

To deal with this problem, rather than using a single asphalt compactor, most companies use the tandem arrangement, which involves at least two asphalt compactors facing in the same direction and moving one behind the other. This allows the road to be compacted multiple times and minimizes the risk of poor compression. Today, the asphalt compactor (tandem) is the most popular method and arrangement on road construction sites. Some of the biggest brands are : Bobcat, Bomag, Case, Caterpillar & JCB