Solid Waste & Recycling

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Wheel of Fortune (October 01, 2003)

It is ultimately the compactor wheel that determines whether or not your landfill will be profitable. Buyers should balance cost, performance and results to determine the overall wheel value for a spe...


It is ultimately the compactor wheel that determines whether or not your landfill will be profitable. Buyers should balance cost, performance and results to determine the overall wheel value for a specific landfill site and type of waste. Consider the following when choosing the right wheel for your needs:

Design and construction — Virtually all landfill compactor wheels manufactured today are made from steel, but designs differ greatly. Buyers should look for wheels designed to protect themselves against the harsh landfill environment. For example, wire and dirt can accumulate between the body of the machine and the wheel’s inner side support. Look for a wheel designed to let these materials escape. In addition, avoid designs that allow debris to build up in the wheel center. This can insulate the planetary gear and cause premature failure of the final drive components. Planetary overheating and failure can also result.

Tractive effort — Landfill compactors also must handle irregular material, severe slopes and grades, and poor weather conditions. Therefore, a wheel should be able to pull and propel the unit consistently while pushing a load, regardless of conditions. Wheel teeth provide the primary traction point. Consequently, to be effective each tooth must penetrate as deeply as possible to “bite” into the material. Wheels should also have enough teeth. Usually more teeth provide better traction. Tooth pattern and design should help break down the material being compacted to a desired size. Look for a wheel that can reduce particle size to achieve better density.

Additionally, side traction should be considered. Be sure that the tooth design will hold the machine on a side slope, and look at the placement, design, configuration and number of teeth to see if their types and patterns can overcome slippery conditions.

Penetration and flotation — A landfill compactor must strike a balance between penetration and flotation to achieve effective traction and compaction. The wheel should simultaneously maintain enough flotation to provide good tractive effort and pushing capabilities, while letting the machine operate without digging in, spinning the wheels, and possibly getting stuck or breaking up the compacted area.

Wheel and tooth cleanliness — Wheel cleanliness often is overlooked. It’s important to keep teeth from collecting cohesive soil and waste. Even if buildup occurs during a small percentage of a compactor’s operating time, traction and compaction during that time may be lost.

Long wear life — Although it should not be the first and only criteria in selecting a wheel another financially important factor is wear life. Consider guarantees and warranties for wear life but factor in compaction efficiency when determining profitability.

Written by Mickey Cereoli, who represents landfill and stabilization products for Compaction America, Inc. (and Bomag Canada Inc.) based in Kewanee, Illinois. For further information, e-mail dchurch@bomagcanada.com


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