Review: Bomag BMP 8500 multipurpose compactor
The remote-controlled Bomag BMP 8500 multipurpose compactor might be diminutive, but it’s a hard-working champion of the trench. Cameron Officer writes.
Designed specifically for soil compaction, the remote-controlled BOMAG BMP 8500 multipurpose compactor features vibrating drums up to 850mm-wide and a 1595kg operating weight, meaning it remains sure-footed without any risk of toppling over.
It is purpose-designed for working in drainage ditch construction and on backfill, trenching, and pipe-laying projects.
And that suits contractor Daniel Powell just fine.
A long-time BOMAG advocate, Powell's company Tru-Line Civil specialises in drainage work, cable installation, and directional drilling.
Tru-Line Civil has also recently moved into aggregates screening.
"We've tried several brands over the years and, to be honest, BOMAG just seems to have the edge over the competition in light compaction equipment as far as we're concerned."
"Because of the nature of much of our work, we place a lot of stock in robust light compaction gear," Powell says.
Powell's team runs two BMP 8500s and three BOMAG BPR45/55 reversible plate compactors.
After leaving Tru-Line Civil's yard, I head out to check out one of the company's two BMP 8500s in action on a drainage project.
Measuring 1897mm in length, 1275mm in height and with a 610mm-wide body, the BMP 8500 features a hydrostatic articulated steering system that adds to its ease-of-use in restricted environments.
The quietness of the machine's engine — a Kubota D1005 diesel — is impressive, as is its sure-footedness in the slippery trench it's currently working in.
The knobbled exciter drums, which feature the ability to switch between two amplitudes, can be fitted with extension rings, giving the compactor a footprint that's an extra 240mm wide for bigger ditches.
In addition to the dual-amplitude system, the operator can also select between two travel speeds, giving a total of four different compaction modes, all manageable through the convenience of the robust radio control system.
This can be operated both wirelessly and wired-in, depending on environmental considerations, like difficult terrain or poor weather (hold your jokes about West Coast rain).
Incidentally, the remote control system also locks away inside a recess in the compactor's tough bodyshell when it's parked up for the night, which gives Powell and his crew extra peace of mind.
As I discover, the BMP 8500 is a clever wee crawler too. Not only does it feature Intelligent Vibration Control (IVC), which works to automatically optimise working speed in vibration mode for perfect compaction results, depending on the surface and terrain, but it also boasts an ECOMODE System.
This system protects wear and tear on the engine and improves fuel efficiency by automatically switching the engine to idle if no control signal is received from the remote control unit for more than a few seconds.
"The remote control system is good from a health and safety point-of-view, as it removes one guy from the trench and means the operator isn't continually holding onto a vibrating machine," says Powell.
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