Swiss Contractor Realises Efficient Maintenance is the Moneymaker
LANGENTHAL, Switzerland – Compaction output is the standard by which plate compactors are judged. Yet the machines are of little value if their time on the jobsite is limited by a need for frequent maintenance.
L. Gasser & Co AG Civil Engineering, based in Zurich, specialises in smaller construction projects and therefore relies greatly on vibratory plates for their compaction tasks. The main jobsite challenge the company faced was maintenance of these plate compactors, machines that were manufactured by a competitor of Ammann. They required a great deal of servicing, which drove up ownership costs and often made them unavailable when needed.
L. Gasser, a third-generation, family-owned business, recently turned to the Ammann APH 65/85 Hydrostatic Vibratory Plate Compactor to reduce maintenance issues – and of course to provide compaction power, too. A roller is often too large to be used on the company’s projects. The jobsites often require vibratory plates that have good compaction output and cover ground quickly, yet still fit on the smaller projects.
L. Gasser put the Ammann compactor to work on a refurbishing project on “Im Wiesenbeetli” in Zurich to see how it compared to competitive models. The sub-grade layers had been prepared the week prior, and the Ammann machine excelled at compacting gravel for the surface layer. A few days later the crew utilised the APH to compact a trench for the water supply to a new building complex. The APH fit nicely in the tight trench, which was 2 metres deep and 1 metre wide. The plate first compacted a 1-metre-deep layer of fill material. Another metre of material was then placed, and the APH compacted that layer, closing the trench.
The narrow width allowed only a plate compactor to access the trench – yet great force was needed to compact such deep layers. The APH 65/85 is a great match for such jobsites. The plate offers the best compaction performance in its size class thanks to the unique triple-shaft exciter system. The machine performed exceptionally well and had abundant power to quickly reach the compaction targets. The compactor has a working width of 700 mm (27.6 in) with standard extension plates. With the simple and quick removal of the extension plates, the working width can be reduced to 550 mm (21.7 in), making it the ideal fit for the compact spaces L. Gasser often works in.
Compaction is crucial on any jobsite, and the project “Im Wiesenbeetli” with its water supply trench was no exception. The APH 65/85 provided the power and consistent coverage that this project needed. The crew, led by foreman Amit Ismaili, appreciated the machine’s compaction performance as well as its ease of operation and precise steering, which are essential on tight jobsites. “The compaction power of the plate is exceptional,” said Ismaili. “It helps us to compact the deep layers in fewer passes.” In addition, the plate is designed to minimise the amount of unwanted vibration that reaches the operator, reducing stress and the risk of injury.
But performance, control and comfort were only part of the equation. The L. Gasser management team was concerned about maintenance needs and the associated costs.
They quickly learned that Ammann compactors are engineered to lessen downtime. Ammann APH plates feature a hydraulic system that drives the machines without a V belt, eliminating the wear and maintenance costs of the component. Other key parts of the Ammann compactor are maintenance-free. Fluid intervals are extensive, too, reducing costs for the acquistion of new fluids and the disposal of the old.
Here are some key highlights of the APH 65/85:
- The patented triple-shaft exciter system keeps plate movement consistent, which in turn enables smooth travel – even through heavy, cohesive soils – and helps effortlessly overcome steep grades. All APH machines are impressive climbers and can even do so while backfilling saturated areas – work that can leave competitive products at a standstill.
- Ammann Orbitrol steering controls the adjustment of the centrifugal weights, allowing a smooth and easy change of direction while ensuring great accuracy on the jobsite. Machine speed and direction can be adjusted by a simple turn of the steering control lever. The machine can also hover and provide on-the-spot compaction for the more challenging areas. In addition, this system helps improve productivity in corners and other tight spots.
- A fully hydrostatic drive system eliminates the need for a V belt and a centrifugal clutch – and the maintenance that go with them. A hydraulic motor drives the eccentric shafts.
- The standard hand guide for APH plates is isolated to minimise hand-arm vibration. Levels lower than 2.5 m/s² enable operators to work longer shifts with the best comfort. The vibration levels are so low that safety codes do not require documentation of operator hours.