• VIDEO: Episode 6: Customer Clinic DocumentaryContractors from around the country come to a customer clinic in Arizona to be the very first to operate Project Minotaur.
  • VIDEO: Episode 5: Lift the CurtainProject Minotaur team members discuss the work and planning that goes into developing a customer clinic for a new piece of construction equipment, and what they have in store for the first wave of contractors to operate the machine. 642
  • VIDEO: Episode 4: Break ThingsDan Seacat discusses the hours of testing put on equipment at the Wichita proving grounds, and what operators and testers are looking for as Project Minotaur comes closer to reality. 615
  • VIDEO: Episode 3: Heat, Data, Dozers, LoadersAir-to-boil testing puts equipment through extreme environmental and workload conditions before a new machine is ever seen by contractors.592
  • VIDEO: Episode 2: ConnectionsEngineers at the CASE manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kansas, discuss the first seeds of the idea that grew into Minotaur, and the core principle behind the frame design and blade/attachment interface. 568
  • VIDEO: Episode 1: Spare PartsCASE unveiled Project Minotaur at CONEXPO 2017 — a new machine category that brought together the performance attributes of a compact track loader and a dozer to create the industry's first ever Compact Dozer Loader, the DL450. CASE has since evolved the concept and is taking it into the next stages of development. This series will follow along the development process — Episode One details the steps taken since initial tests and focus groups after CONEXPO, the pieces of the original design left behind, and hints at the directions it is taking moving forward.511

The Origin Story

Making the Monster

In the Dirt

Mar 04, 2019

Test Once, Then Test Again

There’s a particular test lab at our Wichita facility that, to a layperson, must look like something straight out of a medieval dungeon. Chains hang from the ceiling to hold a device in place, a drive motor locked onto a dynamometer can spin for thousands of miles, a gas heater that ensures the room maintains a constant temperature in excess of 120°F, and infrared heat lamps on the ceiling cook the skin of the machine. This is where innovation gets put to the test, literally, to make sure that a prototype design’s cooling system can withstand the weather and duty cycle extremes originally analyzed by computer simulations.

Air to Boil

“Each run is pass or fail and replicates real-life worst case scenarios,” said Chris Fogle, Lead Engineer for Engine Systems. “Sometimes it’s one and done, and other times it can take 30 runs. This is an extreme test that once completed ensures customers will not have cooling performance issues in the field.”

When it comes to Project Minotaur, the test, ominously called “air to boil,” is to confirm the performance of the engine, radiators, and other cooling system components. Each component has been put through its paces via computer models, so the development team goes into testing with a high confidence of success.

It’s a standard test in the industry, but it comes with no guarantees, especially since tweaking one parameter can impact the performance of another. This is one place that practical innovation comes into play.

“We iterate (and then reiterate) machine functions in the test lab with a goal of arriving at peak performance, so customers don’t experience malfunction on a job site.”