From Artificial Intelligence to Handcrafting: A Manufacturing Blog

Do you need a trench rammer or a plate compactor?

by Jennifer Jones

For a lot of building jobs, soil compaction will prove to be one of the most vital stages of the project. If the soil is not properly compacted before work starts then the soil will not be stable enough to support whatever you build on top of it and your structure will eventually fail as the ground below it moves. When you want to compact soil and reduce the severity of future settlement, there are several options available to you including jumping jacks and vibratory plate compactors. However, the two most frequently employed are plate compactors and rammers which of the two is best for your job will depend on several factors.

What type of soil do you have?

Soil can be typically described as being either cohesive or granular. Granular soils are typically gravel or sand, these are crumbly in nature and can be compacted whether they are wet or dry.  If you are working with cohesive soils then you will notice that they hold together much more because of their high clay content. Cohesive soils must hold some moisture if they are to be compacted properly. In general, a trench rammer with its smaller plate would be best for a cohesive soil while a compactor would be better suited to granular soil types.

How much space do you have?

A trench rammer is designed to operate in a confined space. The smaller plate size and slim, upright design allow it to easily fit into spaces such as trenches where a plate compactor could not be easily used. The wider plates of the plate compactor are best suited to larger spaces where their weight and vibrations can spread across the whole area. Those vibrations are effective at settling the soil as it compacts ensuring that the job is completed effectively and quickly.

How deep do you want to go?

If you want to go deep then a trench rammer is the best option. A trench rammer is designed to provide more direct force and to compact soil more deeply than is possible with a plate compactor. Since a greater depth can be compacted at one time using a trench rammer allows more soil to be included in every layer you create. Adding more soil each means that the process of filling the trench with compacted soil can be completed more quickly with a trench rammer than with a plate compactor.