Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Power Tools >> Plate Compactor

Plate Compactor
An engine driven vibrating steel plate for use in the compaction of back fill in trenches and other fairly small flat areas, say up to a house slab size.

a flat plate compactor
Photo taken with permission of Coates Hire..

The flat plate compactor gives a smoother finish than a wacker packer and even though it can be used in quite large trenches, it is more suited for flat work like compacting sub grade for concrete slabs on the ground.

  • Normal safety procedures should be carried out with regard to protective clothing but in particular safety steel toe cap boots should be worn.
  • Never refuel any engine that is hot. Wait for them to cool down.
  • Never start any compactor on concrete. Always have it on earth or sand or gravel to start it.
  • Start on idle and holding the thing firmly gradually increase the revs. It should vibrating and slowly moving forwards.
  • The machine can be steered by pushing the handle left or right.
  • At the end of a section the handle can be flipped 180 degrees and the operator manoeuvre in tight spaces if required.
  • As with all compaction machines the material being compacted must have the right moisture content.
  • If it is too dry the the packer will just create dust but do no real work.
  • If the fill material is too wet then the compactor will get bogged.
  • As a rough guide, grab a hand full of the back fill material and squeeze it.
  • When you open your hand it should all hold together and clearly show the imprints of your palm and fingers.
  • Ideally the fill material should be placed and compacted in no more that 150mm 6" layers.
  • The fill material should be raked or screeded to a flat surface as the final levels are reached.
  • These machine are capable of producing accurate levels and it is always worth while to take the extra trouble know that extra concrete cost a lot more than extra fill.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
You must check your own local conditions.
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