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.