Understanding Dowel Drilling Machines

Published on: July 31, 2017

Over the next four weeks, we will be introducing a series of blogs around dowel drill machines. We will touch on how you can save money, complete job fasters, different drill applications for different jobs, the benefits of a Minnich machine, and the importance of dust collection. Keep up with us as we run you through a crash course on concrete drilling.

Return on Investment (ROI) & Speed
Time is everything when you’re on the job, so don’t let your drills hold you back. Drill to operator ratio, faster drilling speeds, crab steering, and side shift are just a few ways that a Minnich dowel drill machine can save you time.
When hand drilling, the operator is limited to one hole at a time. Contractors estimate that it takes about 2 minutes to drill a 5-inch deep hole with a 7/8” diameter. The same hole drilled on a Minnich takes about 5.71 seconds to drill. That’s a 95 percent saving. Not only is speed by 95%, but the operator can now run multiple drills at one time.
Crab steering is a feature that we use on our three, four, and five gang on-slab machines. It allows the unit to move across the top of the slab without raising the bed. The wheels are angled into the slab so that the machine can move in the desired direction as well as keep the bed pressed against the face of the slab.

crab stering graphic

Side shift is an option on our machine mounted drills. It allows the operator to drill a set of holes, side shift, then drill another set of holes without moving the host machine.
No matter which features benefit you, saving time saves you money.

Hand drilling began when the need arose for mining, tunneling, excavating etc. The first hand drill was steam driven and made in 1806.


From the start, we have seen the safety risks. “Drilling into concrete is a physically demanding task associated with exposure to hand vibration, noise, silica dust and high forces to the upper body. These exposures are associated with whole body fatigue, upper body musculoskeletal disorders, hand arm vibration disorders, noise induced hearing loss, and silicosis.” By using dowel drilling machine that has a mounted hammer, you can eliminate many of these risks and provide a safe work environment for not only the operator, but those around him.

When hand drilling, there is no way to tell if the drill is being held straight, or if the distance between holes is the same each time a new hole is drilled. On Minnich dowel-drilling units, the bed uses 3 points of reference to keep the bed level. The drills are also squared to the slab and locked in place keeping the hole spacing the same each time holes are drilled. Improper dowel alignment can cause cracking and decreases the longevity of the slab area.Dowel Bar alignment Minnich drilling machines also measure hole depth, assuring the same depth with each pass. DOT dowel bar insertion standards are expected to be met and will be inspected. Dowels improperly installed are required to be removed and correctly reinstalled.

Dowel Bar replacement     Dowel Bar Scanner

Whether drilling an airport runway or a city street full depth repair, know that Minnich dowel drills are designed with the operator safety, accuracy, and production in mind. Make sure to check back next week so that you don’t miss discussing different drilling applications and which machines fit your job site.


Upcoming Events

« Prev Event
Next Event »