Dowel Insertion Machine Eliminates Human Error


An automotive casting manufacturer was launching a new casting line which required two 8mm dowel pins to be pressed into machined holes. During the insertion process, they required live insertion force and depth feedback to determine what kind of fit the machined hole and dowel pin made.

Too tight of a fit could result in deformation of the aluminum casting, and too loose of a fit could allow the dowel pin to fall out during shipping or assembly with the mating part. The machine was also required to perform various checks to ensure the entire machining process was correctly accomplished.


Alaark Tooling and Automation rose to the challenge and developed a high quality piece of equipment while conforming to an extremely tight deadline and ultimately exceeding original expectations.

A vibratory bowl feed system along with an air over oil press force monitoring system coupled with custom escapement tooling was implemented for the dowel insertion process. Minimum and maximum force and depth limits were calculated, tested, and established allowing the system to display a pass or fail signal to the operator.

Gage checks including flatness of matting surfaces, positional tolerance of mounting holes, threaded holes correctly machined, and through holes machined to acceptable tolerance were also performed on this machine.

The latest sensor technology was utilized to achieve these checks including Keyence laser sensors to ensure threads are in location, and Festo air gap sensors to precisely measure back pressure confirming the casting's mating surfaces are flat within tolerance.


• Combined a virtual condition gage along with dowel insertion minimizing the overall footprint of the product line 
• Eliminated human error associated with manual dowel insertion 
• Shortened the overall product cycle time by eliminating the bottleneck of parts at inspection
• Guarantees an acceptable casting will be shipped to their customer