Dowel pin drilling is an essential part of concrete patchwork—and it can be particularly time-consuming and expensive, especially if it’s not done smartly. Following best practices when doing road patchwork to repair damaged concrete is important to keeping jobs running on schedule, on budget, and safely.
Machine-mounted drilling is a convenient and efficient option. Dowel pin drills can be attached to tracked or wheeled excavators, skid steers, backhoes, and other equipment. Here’s some information on machine-mounted dowel pin drilling that all road contractors who do patchwork should be aware of.
Benefits of Machine-Mounted Dowel Pin Drilling
Efficiency is a key benefit of machine-mounted dowel pin drilling. Drills powered by air compression are generally best for full-depth repair work and repairs covering significant distance. The speed and maneuverability achieved by machine drilling are major advantages. Also, a smoother workflow can be achieved for horizontal drilling when, for example, the drill is attached to an excavator or backhoe’s boom and the compressor is carried on the same machine, mounted to the bucket or counterweight. Drilling vertical holes with a dowel pin drill attached to a skid steer is another option that’s much faster than hand drilling.
Machine-mounted dowel pin drilling is a relatively safe method as well, especially considering how often patchwork is performed in high-traffic areas. It also significantly reduces operator fatigue, since the machine moves the drill.
Choosing the Right Dowel Pin Drill
Road contractors doing dowel pin drilling have a tough job; using the right drill makes it a lot more manageable. To select from a two-gang drill, a six-gang drill, or something in between, consider how many holes need to be drilled, the work space and cutout size, the distance that needs to be traveled, and the timeline. Also, are you taking advantage of side-shift functionality to create a second set of holes?
Read the Operator’s Manual
Properly operating and maintaining the dowel pin drill is crucial for safety, efficiency, accuracy, and protecting the performance and lifespan of the equipment. Follow all usage, maintenance, and cleaning instructions in the operator’s manual.
Don’t neglect lubrication; lubricating the drill at the correct intervals and with the appropriate lubricant is important for preventing excessive wear, overheating, and other damage. Thoroughly inspect the dowel pin drill and all mountings prior to use. Also, operators should wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including for their ears and eyes.
Pay Attention to Dust
OSHA requires that worker exposure to breathable silica dust be limited. As of this writing, new regulations most recently went into effect in June 2017. Learn more on the OSHA website page about respirable crystalline silica.