Ammann Compaction Celebrates 100 Years

LangenThal, SwitzerlandOne of the original pioneers in compaction equipment, Ammann Compaction, celebrates 100 years of industry innovation in 2011.

Artist rendition of early Steam Roller from Ammann

When Ammann introduced its first “steam roller” in 1911, the Swiss-based family business was already 42 years old. At the onset of the past century, the firm was renowned as a provider of mixing plants for road surfacing in Europe. Its first compaction units followed the model of the time, as trains consisting of a heavy static roller, coal tender and water wagon, and a “caravan” or caboose used as living quarters for the operator throughout the roadbuilding season.

Within a few years, Ammann Compaction patented a new combustion-driven design, the Rugel roller that offered contractors a compact 1.6-tonne, manually controlled machine suitable for smaller roadworks and industrial yards. Ammann engineers built on this experience with new ideas to move the operator to the top of the machine and to provide more responsive steering with minimal offset tracks.

As roadbuilding standards and technology advanced through the 1920s and 30s, with the arrival of bitumen-based asphalt and development of the Proctor scale for measuring compaction, Ammann continued at the forefront of equipment design. Before the 2nd World War began, Ammann was already introducing its first rollers with eccentric drives – early versions of vibratory compactors that could achieve three to four times the compaction result for their weight.

The new generation takes shape

Today’s Double Drum Rollers

Ammann’s development of its DTV (Double Tandem Vibration) line in the 1960s led to new choices and a new level of control for compaction operators. Its vibrating drum was soon followed by a double vibration design. Offset drums were introduced to prevent tracking in asphalt compaction. A patented articulation joint, allowing oscillations of up to 8°, meant that the compaction drum could now follow contours in the surface without causing cracks. With their new side clearance, Ammann machines began to provide compaction right up against the wall.

During this same period, engineers in Hennef, Germany, were developing a new line of walkbehind vibratory rollers in the 1100 to 1800 lb. range. With construction booming and city roads expanding rapidly, the new machines soon became indispensable equipment on every jobsite. Subsequent designs responded to the growing demand with lighter-weight units and options for unidirectional and reversible vibratory plates, powered by diesel or gasoline engines.

The emergence of hydraulic drives in the 1980s was the next major change in equipment technology, leading to the familiar designs of today. Ammann was quick to adopt the concept, delivering a new generation of machines that offered stepless drive control and smooth-driving reversible operation to contractors.

An ACE for control technology

Today’s line-up from Ammann reflects its entry into a new field of innovation. Since the mid-1990s, Ammann has been leading the application of compaction electronics with its patented ACE system of self-regulating measuring and compaction control. ACE technology transforms the machines into intelligent, interactive partners with the operator able to modulate the machine’s compaction force according to the level of compaction, and to inform the operator continuously of the result. Ammann has gradually adapted its ACE capabilities to every type and class of compaction application. Now, even its hydrostatic vibratory plates are offered with ACE controls.

The global outlook

Early Compaction Equipment from Ammann

The evolution of the Ammann compaction line has been matched by its global growth. With trade partnerships on every continent, the Swiss company makes good on its promise to back every machine it delivers with effective service and support to the customer.

The company continues to invest in the know-how and production capabilities of its specialized business units: Its acquisitions have included the walkbehind expertise in Hennef, the market-leading Rammax trench rollers from Metzingen, Germany, and, in 2005, its centre for single drum rollers in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

Over the past 100 years, Ammann has contributed close to 50 patents to the advancement of the compaction industry. Its product range covers more than 80 models, ranging from its 150 lb. rammer to 4-tired pneumatic rollers and 25 ton single-drum machines. With the 6th generation of the Ammann family still active in the company’s management, Ammann Compaction looks forward to adding to its extensive legacy worldwide.

About Ammann

Ammann is recognized as a leading equipment brand internationally with 1600 employees and a broad range of equipment for road construction, earthmoving and mineral processing. In Canada, Ammann specializes in a full line of compaction machines including plate compactors, vibrating rollers featuring the ACE compaction control system, double drum asphalt machines and 30 ton rubber-tired rollers and is represented by a growing network of dealers committed to customer service and support.

For further information on Ammann products and service in Canada, contact:

Peter Price, Area Sales Manager – Canada
Ammann Canada
Mississauga, Ontario