The Right Drill For The Job

Published on: August 8, 2017

Welcome back to Part Two of our blog series around dowel drilling machines. If you missed Part One where we discussed why dowel drilling machines are important in the construction industry, you can find that here! Every drill has a different application, and no job site is alike. Understanding which drill is right for your job is crucial. Whether you’re repairing a city street, doing full depth repair on I-90, or paving a new airport runway can drastically affect which drill is the right choice.

Full Depth Repair
Full Depth Repair, also known as “Patch Work,” is when a small section of concrete pavement needs to be cut out and replaced. To keep the new slab tied to the existing slab, holes need to be drilled and dowel bars used to secure the two together. Generally, there will be several sections in an area that need to be patched. Some states will specify 3 or 4 holes in a tire lane and they must be drilled by a gang drill.
Most often you will see machine mounted units used in this application, especially when there are great distances between patches. The drill is mounted to the boom of the excavator/backhoe. The compressor is mounted to the counter weight/bucket, so when the patch is drilled the host vehicle simply pulls into traffic and drives to the next patch. Both the drill and compressor are contained on the unit and can be moved quickly to the next patch. The boom of the host vehicle allows the unit to be placed on all four sides of the patch without moving. This placement allows you to finish drilling, pour the new slab, and re-open to traffic quickly.In some instances, self-propelled units such as the A-3SC or A-3SCW, have been used for this application. These units allow you to drill without dedicating an excavator/backhoe to the unit. The excavator/backhoe can be ahead of the drill breaking out the next patch to be repaired. The A-3SC is a mobile, smaller, self-propelled unit for use in tight areas such as back to back patches.
Where gang-drills are not specified, some contractors choose to use a couple of smaller units. The smaller units are easily pushed from patch to patch and can keep up with the work. These units are also versatile enough to do odd shapes or areas within the patch. They also require a smaller compressor. In most instances, a 185 compressor is enough to run up to a two gang.
Minnich also offers units that mount to a skid steer to drill vertical holes. In areas where there are several patches to be pulled, this unit allows the operator to simply drive the skid-steer down the road, drill two vertical holes where the slab-pins need to be inserted, and pull the bad slab. This is much quicker and does not damage the grade like total demolition of the slab.


Lane Addition or Runway Widening
On a job where a runway needs widened or a lane needs added to a highway, the A-4SCW or A-5SCW is the only way to go. Designed with production in mind, the wireless units drill four or five holes at a time and drive down the slab to drill the next set.
Self-propelled machines have several features which allow for greater production on long straight sections of pavement. As we talked about in the previous article, units are equipped with crab-steering. The operator simply drives the unit down the slab and does not need to raise and lower the drill bed to position. The wireless remote allows the operator to stand down in the grade for easier alignment instead of controlling the unit from behind the control panel and look down over the face of the slab. This feature also keeps the operator out of the concrete dust. The wireless units are also equipped with a tow bar to tow its own compressor which eliminates the need of a truck and an extra operator to keep the compressor next to the drill.

Utility Work
Minnich’s A-1 drill series, single on-grade units, are the most versatile drills on the market. When it comes to utility work the A-1 series are the only units on the market that can drill in four configurations without having to purchase a separate kit. This unit can drill horizontal, vertical, into a wall, or 6” from a corner by simply reconfiguring the existing unit. They can be purchased to fit in a 36” or 48” cutout without removing the wheels.
If you need to get into a tighter area the A-1-UTL series will fit into a 24″ or 30″ opening. These units can be configured to drill horizontal or vertical out of the box. If you have a special drilling need they can also be adapted to specialized kits.
The A-1C unit can also be purchased to fit in the same cutouts as the A-1 series. The only difference is that the A-1C rides on the slab, instead of down on the grade. It is much easier to move a drilling unit on the smooth surface of a slab than on loose grade. These units can drill horizontal, vertical, a 35 degree stitch, or at a horizontal skew.


Special Application
Just because you do not see a drill that will fit your drilling requirement, do not hesitate to give us a call. With a full time engineering staff, Minnich jumps at the opportunity to design a specialized unit. Surprisingly, a specially designed unit does not always cost more than a standard unit. In the past, Minnich has designed deep hole drills for quarries, core drill units, specialized pattern drills for attaching light post guard rails and other special brackets, drills designed for the rail road, and many other applications. Whatever the job, call Minnich and we will help fit the right drill to your application.


Next Week we’ll be discussing what makes a Minnich drilling machine different than every other drilling machine and what makes Minnich your first choice!


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