The Heart of a Dozer
“We started out with a CTL on steel tracks,” said Dan Seacat, a Design Engineer in Wichita, KS, referencing the early days of CASE’s Project Minotaur, the world’s first hybrid dozer/loader, which relied on the decades of experience the company has with designing and building dozers.
It also has expertise spread across its facilities: One of Seacat’s partners on the project was Ryan Ogg, who works 8 hours away at the company’s facility in Burlington, IA, where it makes its 650M Crawler Dozer, among other products. He’s a Design Engineer with deep experience in dozer undercarriage track design.
Seacat and Ogg are part of a much larger team of engineers working on Project Minotaur. These engineers combined the ripper attachment designs of a grader and dozer to create a new one for Project Minotaur. They also did some best-in-class research on rear doors and came up with a new, improved design for Minotaur.
“Instead of beefing up at CTL, we started over with a heavy duty dozer undercarriage and adapted the design to the Minotaur’s smaller platform,” Ogg explained, noting that it involved using different, heavier, and more roller mountings than would be normally found on an CTL, and a more robust cross-shaft design to withstand the increased loads from the dozer application across the chassis and undercarriage.
“Steel tracks had been a part of the plan from Day One,” said Seacat. “But for Minotaur, we wanted the entire track system to be more dozer-like in durability and capability, even if it wouldn’t be operated in a full-time dozer duty cycle.”
“We pulled proven design elements from both platforms, and built Minotaur based on proven technologies,” Ogg said. “But we’re using thicker materials and larger sections to stiffen it up.”
The result, according to Ogg, is a robust combination that will give operators more traction — “it bites in better” — and will let Minotaur work in more severe ground conditions. Steel might not move as fast as rubber, but it’s far more durable and more traction means increased push forces for dozing applications, plus rubber tracks may be an option for Minotaur customers who see its duty cycle primarily for lifting and loading.