“Project Minotaur” brings together the footprint and performance of a compact track loader with the true power and dozing characteristics of a bulldozer; the new product is currently in “concept” phase with extensive voice of customer work taking place.
CASE Construction Equipment introduces the DL450 compact dozer loader – AKA “Project Minotaur” – a first-of-its-kind fully integrated design that matches the best operating characteristics of a compact track loader (CTL) with a crawler dozer. A launch/production date for the machine has not been confirmed, but CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 represents a new and advanced phase in product development with extensive voice of customer work being conducted at the show and with top contractors.
“In 1957, we changed the industry with the introduction of the first-ever fully integrated backhoe loader,” says Scott Harris, vice president – North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “The DL450 compact dozer loader represents that same forward-thinking and practical innovation, but in an exciting new platform that provides a real benefit to contractors – from landscapers looking to step up their grading and earthmoving game, to residential and commercial contractors looking for versatility and dual-function in a single footprint.”
With more than 30 new patents pending, the DL450 provides the power and performance of a small dozer in a platform that also serves as a loader and runs all of the attachments that a contractor currently owns for their skid steers and compact track loaders. The core feature of the DL450 is a C-Frame dozer interface that pins directly into the chassis of the machine. This provides the stability and smooth operating plane of a CTL, and ensures that all operating power and stresses are channeled through the machine’s chassis and not its loader arms.
The C-Frame can then be unpinned from the chassis and disconnected like any other attachment, allowing the machine to perform like a standard CTL.
“The problem with dozer attachments common with CTLs and skid steers – while effective in specific operations – is that they channel all operating stress through the coupler and the loader arms, and are really only suitable for groundline work,” says John Dotto, brand marketing manager, CASE Construction Equipment. “This affects performance and adds wear/stress to those components. The operator gets true dozing performance with this machine – no arm float, a consistent plane and true 6-way blade performance through the machine’s new controls.”
Building “Project Minotaur”
Conceived between the CASE skid steer manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kansas and CNH Industrial’s research and development center in Burr Ridge, Illinois, the new DL450 combines current and legacy technologies/designs to create a whole new product category.
“One of the inspirations for this machine was the old 450 Series CASE dozers – a very popular product for its time that you still see contractors operating today,” says Dotto. “Our engineers focused on building performance and operating characteristics similar to that platform into this machine. Early indications show that they’ve accomplished this, with an anticipated drawbar pull of around 21,000 pounds.”
Other notable features and design elements of the machine:
- The main body was born from the base frame of a TV380 CTL – the largest and most powerful CTL in the CASE family – and further increased in size to handle the greater load.
- While the frame is based off of a vertical lift machine, CASE engineers built the pushing power and frame strength of a radial lift machine into the design. The DL450 marries that TV380 frame with the radial-lift loader arm design similar to a CASE legacy 465 skid steer.
- The cab and controls inside of the machine will feel familiar both to operators of CTLs/skid steers and dozers. Similar to ISO controls, forward and reverse travel, and steering is controlled with the left hand. Boom and bucket controls are manipulated with the right. Those same controls in the right hand control the lift, angle and tilt of the 6-way blade.
- Dozer control features such as blade shake and pitch adjustment will be incorporated.
- Counterweight has been added to the machine, and the undercarriage features steel tracks and grousers, a fifth roller for better traction (compared to the standard four on a CTL) and greater ground clearance to reduce the likelihood of drag.
- The design includes a rear, integrated ripper. This is achieved without impeding full access to daily service points.
- The DL450 at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 is outfitted with a Leica Geosystems 3D grade control system – CASE sees the integration of these technologies as a natural fit due to the true dozing performance of the machine.
“The DL450 provides a distinct 2-in-1 advantage to the contractor who has considered purchasing a small dozer,” says Dotto. “With the dozer loader, they can buy this machine with confidence knowing it will have the full utilization of a CTL and can easily be transitioned over to a dozer. For contractors who rely on smaller dozers, they can add this and seamlessly pick up the functionality of a CTL. We see this as something that will help contractors achieve ideal utilization rates and simplify the footprint of equipment they deploy to a site.”
“Project Minotaur is the ideal way to kick off our 175th year in business,” says Harris. “We’re proud of all the equipment we’re introducing at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017, but this is arguably the greatest reflection of our legacy of real and practical earthmoving solutions.”