When Project Minotaur was first put to the air-to-boil test, the development team knew it wouldn’t be the last.
“Our normal procedure is to test, make improvements, and then test again,” explained Eric Hensley, Project Engineer. “Air-to-boil is intended to validate that customers won’t have issues operating a machine hard on extremely hot days.”
“Testing calibrates our design models with real-world data,” added Josh Morton, Senior Lead Test Engineer. “We’re ensuring that the customer is able to run the machine consistently without having to stop and allow the machine to cool down.”
In the case of Project Minotaur, this meant mapping the temperatures, heat gain, and heat rejection through a machine design that incorporated a first-ever combination of dozer and CTL functionality into a single unit.
The company’s deep expertise in each category of equipment informed that test, but Project Minotaur’s radiator stack had to support both. So, the hydraulic controls needed to be variable to support heavy-duty CTL and dozer applications.
“We needed to make sure Project Minotaur’s innovative setup didn’t just deliver on the high torque required by dozers, but also met the extreme load requirements needed for cold planning in asphalt applications that we’d observed in key markets,” said Morton.
The result was more than encouraging: the upgraded main equipment pump and dynamometer load capacity met the test thresholds, and the team saw opportunities to improve the overall cooling of the machine through modifications to the loader valve and adjustments to the hydraulic plumbing to pump inlet. The set number of coolant fins could be reallocated, too.
The vehicle was subsequently torn down and rebuilt with these modifications in mind. The return to the air-to-boil lab will be augmented by field testing, leading to additional incremental refinements and, ultimately, functional validation.
“We’re using extreme testing to maximize power and cooling performance,” said Morton. “In many cases we’ll load the machine for longer and put more stress on all the systems than customers will ever do in their applications.”
“Practical innovation is a process and we continue to draw on our years of experience in working with these systems,” added Hensley.