• VIDEO: Episode 11: The Journey BackWichita preps Project Minotaur as it leaves for its journey back to CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020.
  • VIDEO: Episode 10: LearningsFrom the first focus groups at CONEXPO 2017 to customer clinics and jobsites throughout North America, Project Minotaur has evolved through extensive voice of customer feedback and traditional field testing.746
  • VIDEO: Episode 9: The First BuildersCASE builds a new line for Project Minotaur and implements World Class Manufacturing (WCM) principles as the company looks to retain the specially crafted design of the machine while also optimizing worker engagement with the machine and the workspace. 727
  • VIDEO: Episode 8: The First JobsChad Eaton of Grapes & Sons Excavating was one of the first operators at our customer clinic in Arizona earlier this year, and became one of the first contractors to put Project Minotaur to the test on real jobsites in the mountains of Colorado.712
  • VIDEO: Episode 7: Just Add FeedbackJosh Zimmerman discusses his role in dialing in the performance of Project Minotaur, and the important role that feedback plays in how the controls of the machine are refined. 685
  • 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.661
  • 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

Dec 02, 2019

Testing a Heart of Steel (and Valves and Hoses)

Like a marathoner before a race, Project Minotaur units get a special test before starting their main event.

Called a “bench test,” the core pump and valves are put through their duty cycles as project team members monitor physical qualities like metering curves, pressure vs. flow ratios, and heat load. It’s a unique test — the actual bench used was built from scratch — though the methodology and supporting data build on CASE Construction Equipment’s extensive history in product development.

“Working with our deep experience and experts in the hydraulics field, we’ve built and configured a valve from proven and reliable components to consistently handle the increased performance specs of Project Minotaur,” explained Andrew Kennedy, Test Engineer.

“Putting it on the bench gives us an opportunity to tune and optimize it, as well as get data that we’ll apply to the next test.”

The setup is much like the “heart” of Project Minotaur, as the loader valve controls lift, the ripper circuits, blade tilt angle, and the aux circuit for hydraulics. Everything that matters most goes through it, which is why the team put extra work into both the design and testing.

Key to the testing is confirming that the optimum electro-hydraulic settings for the unit control module match the intended use, as the level of current the solenoid “sees” is controlling the force output for different functions. Put in simple language, it’s intended to confirm that Project Minotaur can deliver the variety and performance over time that were defined by its specifications. It’s where virtual plans and physical reality meet.

No wonder the testing is so rigorous: It takes approximately one and a half to two weeks to test each unit before they’re approved for further testing.

“We want to make sure we are evaluating units based on the unique work case, and not questioning the core component of how that work gets done,” Kennedy said.

Heart health is key to a successful marathon.