Case Minotaur DL550 compact dozer loader is two machines in one
By Jenny LescohierAugust 03, 2022
Case Construction Equipment has been teasing its Project Minotaur for years - a machine blending a small dozer with a compact track loader - and this week the talk became reality with the official introduction of the Minotaur DL550 compact dozer loader, the first machine of its kind on the market.
“We showed the concept machine, Project Minotaur, at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in 2017, and it started as just that, a concept machine,” says Brad Stemper, North American product management lead at Case CE. “It was an imediate hit with customers, which proved the desire and need for this machine in the market, which is a whole new product category and different from anything else in the industry.”
Stemper continues, “We have 29 patents on this machine and over 10,000 field test hours to ensure these machines are ready to go to market.”
Weighing in at more than 18,000 lbs and working with 114 horsepower, Case says the DL550 delivers true dozing and grading performance, as well as powerful site loading capabilities and compatibility with hundreds of attachments.
The hallmark advancement of the Minotaur DL550 is the chassis-integrated C-frame with six-way dozer blade. The C-frame hydraulically couples into both the chassis of the machine, as well as the attachment coupler. This design provides the stability and smooth operating plane of a small dozer while ensuring that all operating power is channeled through the whole body of the machine. This establishes greater performance and long-term reliability than the simple combination of a dozer blade attachment to a traditional compact track loader, the company says.
Terry Dolan, vice president - North America, Case CE, says at first glance, the Minotaur might look like a compact track loader, but its DNA leans more heavily on its dozer heritage.
“It basically shares the skin of a CTL, but inside it’s very different,” says Dolan. “The integrated C frame is different than putting a small dozer blade on a compact track loader or skid steer. This is truly a dozer first.”
He adds, “But by quickly and swiftly being able to drop that C frame, you can go to a coupler and enable it to be a loader. Small contractors, large contractors, and contractors looking for a nimble, powerful product will see the Minotaur is able to deliver.”
The DL550 comes standard with Case Universal Machine Control, which makes the machine ready for Leica, Trimble or Topcon machine control technology, which are sold separately. It’s also available with an optional, industry-exclusive fully integrated ripper for tearing up tough terrain to simplify dozing and earthmoving operations.
The C-frame is then detached to allow the operator to use it as a loader with a heavy-duty 1.25-cubic-yard bucket, or with hundreds of common loader attachments many equipment owners already have in their fleet.
Jeff Jacobsmeyer, product manager for skid steers, compact track loaders and the new compact dozer loader, said the way the DL550’s six-way blade couples to the chassis provides the stability and smooth operating plane of a small dozer, however within minutes and a just a few simple steps, the blade can be exchanged with a loader for uncommon versatility.
“The Minotaur has the potential for being the first machine on the job site and the last to leave,” Jacobsmeyer says. “With the integrated five-shank ripper you can go
in and rip, doze and load, then take a six-way angle blade, reshape the job site and get things ready for construction. Then transform the machine with a bucket to haul in new materials or put on a set of pallet forks to bring in supplies.”
Of critical importance to contractors will be the ease with which the DL550 can get to the job.
“A lot of customers have commented that you can haul this around with one truck and a heavy trailer,” Jacobsmeyer notes. “It takes more than that logistically to move a large dozer, but with the Minotaur you can get in, get the job done and be out in the time it can take just to move a large dozer onto the job.”
Built on a dozer-style undercarriage and pushing with more than 25,000 lbs of drawbar pull, the DL550 performs like a true dozer. The machine is available with three different track options to meet operator preference and job site profiles: 14-inch single-grouser steel tracks, 18-inch triple-grouser steel tracks and 7-inch rubber tracks.
The 90- or 96-inch six-way blade connected to the integrated C-frame is the same blade featured on the Case 650M dozer and gives the operator a full range of dozer controls and movements. The machine’s electro-hydraulic controls also deliver responsiveness like full-sized Case dozers, with the ability to adjust blade, steering and shuttle sensitivity to smooth, moderate or aggressive to meet the operator’s preference. Blade responsiveness can be further dialed in to operator preference by independently setting the speed of the blade tilt, lift and angle.
Case says the fully integrated rear ripper is easily controlled from within the cab — it comes standard with three shanks and can be expanded to five shanks for more aggressive ripping. The rear ripper feature must be selected when ordering as it cannot be added after the time of purchase.
In its loader configuration, the DL550 features a 5,500-lb rated operating capacity (50% of tipping load) with 12,907 lbs of breakout force. It features a vertical lift pattern and operates in the ISO control pattern. It also features advanced electro-hydraulic control capabilities where operators can dial in total machine responsiveness to low, moderate or aggressive; or independently set tilt, lift and drive speed, as well as loader arm and drive control to best meet the demands of the work.
Case builds the machine standard from the factory with enhanced high-flow auxiliary hydraulics for running the most demanding and high-powered attachments — such as mulching heads and cold planers. Minotaur’s enhanced high-flow hydraulics can deliver up to 41.6 GPM at 4,100 psi via the ¾-inch hydraulic quick couplers.
The machine also allows operators to harness its power with “Hydraulics on Demand,” where the operator can select the percentage of auxiliary hydraulic flow to the attachment via the machine’s multi-function display. This allows the operator to dial in attachment performance to their preference or the recommendation of the attachment manufacturer.
“The front coupler featured on this machine is the same as you will find on most compact loaders — this opens the machine up to be used with hundreds of attachments,” says Jacobsmeyer.
The DL550 is manufactured in Wichita, KS on a dedicated line purpose-built for this machine. It represents more than six years of development and collaboration between numerous Case plants, personnel, testing facilities and departments.
“Through the Minotaur DL550, we created a whole new equipment category and we’re delivering the integrated technologies that drive improvements for operators in the field and for business owners at their bottom line,” says Jacobsmeyer.
Stay tuned to CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 for more details and videos about the Minotaur DL550 compact dozer loader.