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Everything you need to know about Tandem rollers

By Liam Brosnan
March 20, 2022

Have you ever worked on a compaction project where you didn’t get the finish you wanted... tyre and rutting marks, or over compaction ?

Sections where the asphalt has lifted or cracked over time, or it just doesn’t look right? You may have needed to use a tandem roller. Tandem rollers provide the smoothest finish of all compaction equipment, and pack a huge compaction punch when operating in vibratory mode.

Having a thorough understanding of what type of roller is best suited to which job can save you time, money and headaches. Here’s our breakdown on tandem rollers, including everything you need to know when hiring or purchasing one to make your next compaction project the best one yet.

What is a tandem roller?

As the name suggests, tandem rollers (also known as double drum rollers) have two smooth steel drums – one on the front of the roller and another one on the rear.

The steel wheels on tandem rollers provide the smoothest mat finish of all compaction equipment, and when operated in the vibratory mode also provides substantial compactive effort for smaller site/detailed work.

The vibration of a tandem roller adds a dynamic load to the static roller weight providing a greater total effort compared to just static rolling alone. The main purpose of a tandem roller is to create a dense substrate of all layers – and for that reason, tandem rollers are used in all layers of asphalt compaction applications, along with general construction and civil repair work.

A large yellow tandem roller, operated by a worker in a high-visibility vest and helmet, compacts dirt on a construction site under a cloudy sky. Building materials and equipment are visible in the background, behind a fence. For everything you need to know about these machines, explore our tandem roller guide.

So, now that you’ve got a better understanding of what tandem rollers are all about, let’s dive deeper!

Which tandem roller is suited for what job?

Smaller tandem rollers under 5,000kg are perfect for use on small to medium-sized construction jobs including most maintenance applications, patchwork on motorways, footpaths, driveways, car parks and sports and leisure areas. 

Larger tandem rollers from 7,000kg up to 14,000kg are designed for use primarily for higher-production jobs where it’s important to keep up with incoming gravel, road base or asphalt.

These larger drum rollers are also suitable to be used to finish off a surface ready for sealing, thanks to the larger diameter & width of the drum, combined with high-frequency vibration and wider rolling patterns which allow for faster rolling speeds.

How do I get the most out of my tandem roller?

Like most things, to get the most out of a tandem roller it is best to have a trained operator that understand the processes of compaction such as:

  • Amplitude
  • Frequency
  • Rolling patterns
  • Vibratory modes
  • Travel speed

All of these play a major role in the overall finished product, however it’s never too late to learn. Having a good level on the basics can go a long way to getting the most out of your tandem rollers, so keep reading!

Close-up view of a yellow Wacker Neuson construction vehicle with a Conplant logo, likely a tandem roller, on a paved surface. In the background, a small aircraft is parked under dark, stormy skies with visible lightning.

Benefits of using tandem rollers compared to other rollers

Vibratory tandem rollers offer significant potential compaction advantages over static steel wheel rollers, including both double drum and three-point roller varieties:

  •  Water sprinklers to prevent product sticking to the drum and lifting (more on this below)
  • Ability to offset the drum to reducing the likelihood of damaging concrete gutters and edges, also assisting with overlapping joints
  • Improved vision compared to soil rollers – operator can see the edge of the drum
  • Ability to slide the seat from one side of the machine to the other (on certain models)
  • Fold down ROPS, in smaller Tandems for narrow access & height restrictive work

Why do tandem rollers have water tanks?

At Conplant, all our tandem rollers are fitted with a pressure sprinkler system which keeps the drums cooler & wet during the entire compaction process. Using a sprinkler system has a number of advantages:

  • Prevents material sticking to the drum
  • Reduces material lifting causing ugly marks on the finished surface
  • Can help to add moisture to cool your mat / finished product
  • Significantly reduces dust & also assist in controlling moisture content when used on gravel & soil applications

What to look out for when operating a tandem roller

Operators of tandem rollers need to be mindful of underground utilities, the impact of vibration in sensitive areas, in combination with thin overlays that can be over-compacted and damaged potentially leading to expensive damaged utilities   

To aid an operator, tandem vibratory rollers can be equipped with satellite navigation and patented software systems that continually report the degree & location of compaction. These systems can also map the entire jobsite’s compaction values for future reference. Find out more about this Intelligent Compaction technology here.

Where to find a tandem roller for sale or hire

With more than 1000 rollers in our hire fleet, plenty of new and used models for sale and branches across Australia, we’ll have a tandem roller for you, whenever and wherever you need it.

Hire a tandem roller from Conplant

Buy a new tandem roller from Conplant

Buy a used tandem roller from Conplant

We pride ourselves on having the best equipment for every compaction and construction job. Our comprehensive range means we can meet your civil infrastructure project requirements effortlessly.

If you’ve got any questions about compaction or construction, give us a call on 1300 166 166 or contact us here. We’re always ready to help.

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