The Need…For Speed
At risk of stating the obvious, CTLs and dozers are two machines because they do two different things: lifting and pushing dirt require not just different levels of power but apply it with different levels of control and sensitivity.
Combining the hydraulics into a single unit for Project Minotaur required designing a software and hardware system for both use cases. It took operator feedback to get them right.
“Our deep experience with compact track loaders served as the baseline for our speed presets,” explained Josh Zimmerman, performance controls engineer. “Customers had told us over the years what worked best for their needs.”
“Our cycle times came from our background in small dozers, like how fast blades should move up or down, tilt, and rotate, so we set this as the 100% capacity preset for those functions.”
When operators in the field got their hands on Minotaur, however, the message was clear.
“Some of them said that 100% was too slow for what they wanted to do, and that it wasn’t responsive enough to keep their grade,” said Zimmerman. “They wanted the cycle time to be faster than we’d set it.”
Speed has always been a driving factor for CTL operators, and the hydraulics built into Minotaur had been dialed back to provide fine control for dozer applications. This extra hardware capacity allowed the team to increase the dozer settings and give operators not only more speed but make the joystick control feel more responsive (for a better sense of control).
“Customers have told us that they are more likely to use Minotaur in low or medium settings, maybe because it enables more varied uses,” said Zimmerman, noting that software updates allow the system to be fine-tuned to meet the expected ranges of speed for both dozer and CTL applications. “Our test operators challenged us to expand the range and make it faster and more responsive, like race car drivers who expect to push the limits of what’s possible.”
“If you have a need for speed, Minotaur will be up to the task.”