Earthmoving Industry Insight, Reviews

Review: Ammann ARX 12 light tandem roller

It’s not every day you get to snuggle up to a concrete wall, but thanks to the new Ammann range of ARX tandem rollers, if snuggling up’s what you want to do, then snuggle up you can.

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Weighing-in at 1475kg and packing a punch of 23kN of compaction capability, the Ammann ARX 12 is ideally suited to working in close-proximity environments.

A unique facet of design and engineering on Ammann ARX models, which are available in 1.5 – 4.5-tonne models, allows compacting to be carried out flush up against a vertical surface, such as a kerb or the wall of a building, eliminating the age-old hassle of having to finish-off with a hand-operated compactor.

Operating features

This capability comes courtesy of the Ammann’s offset front and rear drums which track off-centre to each other, thus allowing flush compaction from both sides of the machine without the need to turn the roller around.

The ARX 12 is fitted with a top-of-the-line pressurised water sprinkling system featuring an interval timer and a three-stage filtration system, supplied from a large-capacity 100-litre water tank, providing enough water for at least one day’s work.

Power is supplied to the ARX 12 by a three-cylinder Yanmar 3TNV76 diesel engine producing 15.0kW (20.4hp) and has a maximum road speed of 8kph.

The machine is packed with features that not only make it a dream to handle but make it safe to operate as well.

One such feature is the ROPS-mounted amber flashing light, which is easily removed and stored on the lower portion of the ROPS bar when it is folded to the down position for transportation.

All machines in the range are fitted with four large towing hooks, front and rear, which double as tie-down points. All models also have a central lifting point.

Compaction-factor, too, has been given particular attention by the manufacturer, courtesy of larger-diameter drums, front and rear drum vibration and drive, along with two oscillation frequencies.

Maintenance-free articulation joint

Because of a specially-designed ball and socket articulation joint that allows the machine to articulate in multiple directions, the machine felt a little unstable for an operator who was more accustomed to an articulated machine fitted with a traditional pivot-point.

It must be pointed out, though, that this is merely a perception gained when operating the machine for the first wee while – it certainly isn’t the reality, as the first-time operator soon becomes accustomed to the different ‘feel’ of the machine.

Comfort and safety features

Watching the ARX 12 in operation from the sidelines, it’s apparent the machine is in fact very stable and a better perception is gained as to the advantages of the new-technology ball and socket joint and its more effective compaction capability over undulating ground.

Aside from the previously-mentioned folding ROPS fitted to the new ARX models, the machines are packed with many other safety features, like an emergency-stop seat that automatically applies the park brake if there isn’t someone sitting at the controls.

All machines have front and rear road lights (two at the front and one at the back) and in addition to the ROPS-mounted amber flashing light, there are four traditionally-placed hazard lights.

Other features catering for the overall comfort and safety of the operator are the ergonomically-designed seat and the rubber-mounted driver’s platform, which is isolated from the chassis.

The machine’s safety, when it’s parked up for the night, has been considered as well by way of a factory-fitted ‘vandal kit’ fitted to the dash, the engine hood and the fuel and water tank caps.

Ease of maintenance

Daily servicing looks as though it would be a breeze, as all components that need to be checked on a daily basis are situated on the same side of the machine and the Teflon-coated articulation joint is maintenance-free and comes with a ‘no greasing’ guarantee for the lifetime of the machine.

The ARX 12 is hydrostatically-driven and this makes it a dream to operate. 

A breeze to operate

Upon selecting one of two engine-speed settings on a lever situated on the right-hand side of the steering column, travelling in a forward or reverse direction is performed by moving the electric-drive lever in the direction you want to travel.

The lever is situated to the right of the operator and also houses the drum vibration controls, which are operated by a blue and a red button on the side of the lever.

A clever bit of mechanical engineering automatically ceases the vibrating function momentarily before the machine responds to the command to change direction (forward-reverse or vice-versa) eliminating those annoying ‘scallops’ that customarily get left in the work surface when traditional vibrating rollers change direction.

At the risk of sounding clichéd, we found the Ammann ARX 12 to be packed with features too numerous to mention and could really only find one negative to speak of – the lack of a proximity warning sensor at the rear of the roller. These devices are pretty much the norm on new cars these days and roller manufacturers should consider adding these to their machines.


Operating features

  • Flush-edged drums front and rear (no extra finishing-off required)
  • Two vibration frequencies
  • Front and rear drive and vibration
  • Large water tank (enough water for at least one day’s work)
  • Two scrapers per drum

Safety features

  • Automatic park brake application upon loss of seat contact
  • Fold-down ROPS
  • Ample lighting front and rear


  • Exclusion of either rear-view mirrors or proximity sensor from list of safety features


Photography: Editor

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