Don’t Fear the Ripper
The basic design of a ripper — the device consisting of a row of “teeth” that trail behind a dozer to break up hard ground so that it can be graded by the dozer blade — has been all but established science for the past half-century.
Only that arrangement was not ideal for the new Project Minotaur, for two reasons, according to a conversation with Jacob Benteman and Dan Seacat, design engineers:
First, the multi-functional aspect of Project Minotaur as a CTL meant that it had to be able to load onto a trailer, and the standard ripper design reduced the departure angle, or the incline at which it would drag on the ground.
Second, Project Minotaur’s engine compartment door would face to the rear, unlike a dozer, so the ripper’s retraction and extension had to allow for easy access.
When an early design build with forward mounted teeth was put to the test in the field, the teeth acted like tills and collected dirt on the frame. In addition, the operator platform with the front-mounted teeth required a flip-up design in order to allow access to the pins that hold the teeth in place.
So the team went back to the drawing board, and innovated the established ripper design.
What they devised incorporated all of the performance criteria that operators would demand from a ripper — putting the teeth back in the rear of the frame — but reimagined the linkages for raising and lowering it, so that it would deliver an angle of departure that matched the angle of approach at the front…while preserving the critical ripper function.
They also were able to reduce complexity. Once the teeth were mounted behind the support frame, the movable platforms could be eliminated, therefore reducing complexity.
This is how we’re using practical innovation to build Project Minotaur.