According to Packer Brothers, for general earth compaction, few pieces of equipment are as versatile as a vibratory plate compactor. It applies force by weight and settles particulates by aggressive vibration more than heavy ramming force. This action tends to collapse gravel and dirt together in a controlled fashion for a tighter base that is more likely to resist settling, frost heaving, and erosion.

Plate compaction is often used to prepare surfaces for a final surfacing, be it concrete, asphalt, pavers, or crushed gravel. The size of the job and the material being compacted will determine which unit to choose. A lightweight unit with a large plate spreads its force out over greater area and is easy to maneuver.  A heavyweight unit with a medium-size plate will compact faster, but can require more effort to run.
Moisture content plays an important role in compaction ability. Too much moisture in dirt can cause the compaction to become soupy and not pack. When the soil to too dry, the powdery material will be resistant to compaction. Gravel bedding is less likely to be an issue when it comes to compacting. When more aggressive compaction is needed, or compaction in a trench is desirable, a powered rammer may be more suited for the job.
If you haven’t already experienced the “joy” of new, more restrictive, emission and noise requirements being implemented on recent contracts … you will likely be impacted by them in the near future. The need for zero emission operation for food processing plants, healthcare facilities, and even some residential communities is becoming quite common. In response to requests from many contractors, Packer Brothers developed and began refining its selection of electric “Jumping Jacks” and vibratory plate compactors over the last several years. These new electric units not only provided the solution to indoor emission requirements, but are quieter and surprisingly cost-effective to operate.
New products aren’t without their own growing pains, however. Employees new to using electric compaction equipment would sometimes inadvertently harm the equipment by under-powering and overheating it. That 250-foot “heavy-duty” extension cord from the local box store may have been good enough for a portable saw … but when used on compaction equipment? Let’s take a look at the problem: The motors driving compaction equipment tend to be larger and run under full load continuously. The smaller gage wire commonly found in common utility cords would have a measurable voltage drop over their length resulting in the compactor motor increasing its amperage draw, therefore causing less efficient running and excess heat. The heat is compounded by the “self cooling” motor turning slightly slower and not its fan not being as effective. The result is premature wear on the motor and sometimes outright failure.


At Packer Brothers, the goal is to make all of its products exceptional instead of just good enough. The following outlines the steps taken to make “exceptional” the norm:

  • Clearly communicate that heavy-duty equipment, like our PB184e Compactor, be run with nothing lighter than a 10-gauge commercial cord in a reasonable length.
  • Over and above that, make sure the plug is a 20-amp, twist-lock style to keep from being plugged into an undersized cord (even though it will run with a lighter plug and cord, why risk your investment?).
  • Have all motors custom-built with a higher, more forgiving, duty rating.Offer dual voltage capability on the motors (220 volt will permit longer cords to be used without as critical percentage voltage drop).
  • Continue to improve the components used in its machines to give you the best value and most durable product possible.

It should be obvious. When your next interior renovation is scheduled, a plate compactor like the PB184e could be your most profitable and effective solution for getting the job done. It’s easy to use … just plug in and flip the switch and it’s running with zero exhaust emissions, while being noticeably quieter to run than comparable gasoline models. It requires less maintenance with no need for replacement air filters and engine oil. It also has been designed to be easy on the operator. A well balanced, quieter machine also makes a difference when it comes to operator fatigue—fatigued operators can make costly mistakes or cause unnecessary injury.

The weight of the PB184e is less than 190 pounds, but still has a maximum lift of nearly 12 inches. That makes this electric compactor more effective than many gasoline models on the job. Best of all, this U.S.-made product is shipped factory-direct so you can get it when you need it.
At Packer Brothers, the ideal-size motor is matched to each piece of equipment sold. You may have the option of selecting Loncin, Honda, or Subaru gas motors. For some applications, diesel power plants are available from companies like Hatz. Packer Brothers specializes in electric-driven machines powered with the reliability of Leeson Motors for jobs that have restrictions on noise and fumes.

For More Information: If you find you have a special need or concern about equipment to make your workday easier, call 612.414.8081 or email the team at the Packer Brothers’ Minnesota facility: For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, July 2015
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