Revolver.ru links to this article (in Russian) at Membrana.ru, which talks about the biggest excavator ever – Bagger 288. I am not particularly interested in excavators or Guinness book records, but the size of this thing is really impressive.
Unfortunately, all the information I find on the web is mostly either in German or in Russian, so, I guess, I will have to make a rough translation for you. While I will be doing that, I do suggest you check more pictures.
So, as you might have guessed, that were Germans who built this monster. It was built by ThyssenKrupp Fordertechnik in 1978 and it is supposed to work until at least the year of 2078 (that is a 100 years life span). It was the biggest excavator at the time of built, and it is still the biggest one. Wait a second for the numbers.
Bagger 288 weights about 13.5 thousand tonnes. Yup, 13,500 tonnes, which is 13,500,000 kilograms. It is as long as 240 meters, while being as high as 96 meters. 96 meters is roughly a 35 floor building, just to give you an idea. Oh, and the width is about 46 meters.
This monster uses a rotor to excavate stuff. The size of the rotor is impressive too. The diameter of the rotor is 21.6 meters, which compares nicely to an 8 floor building. There are 18 buckets attached to this rotor. Each bucket has a volume of 6.6 cubic meters. The whole thing rotates at about 48 RPMs.
If you need an example of how much work it can do, here is one for you – it can process about 240 cubic meters of rock and soil. Having troubles imagining it? I did too. Well, imagine a stadium. Now fill it up with some garbage. Now make sure that the heap of that garbage is about the size of 10 floor building. Yup. You got it.
If I will add to these numbers that this beast can also move around (it has caterpillars), you will be asking yourself how much petrol does it eat. Well, it turns out that it does not operate on petrol. Instead, it works on electricity, which it takes from the mainstream lines. It does need tens of megawatts to operate.
Once, in its life time, this monster had to be moved from one mine to another. The distance was about 22 kilometers, which it covered in about 3 weeks time. Maximum speed – 10 meters per minute, which is 600 meters an hour.
Remember the caterpillars I mentioned earlier? Well, it has 12 of them. Each one is 3.8 meters wide. Because of these, the pressure this machine puts on earth is about 1.7 kilograms per square centimeter. Nice, eh?
When this thing needs to move, it’s a whole new story. Roads and railroads have to be closed, power lines disconnected, and stuff like that. There also should be power along the way. There is a reel with thick power cables on board. These cables can span as long as 1 kilometer, so someone will have to plug and unplug them a few times along the way.
Anyway, there are a whole lot more details, so I suggest you find them on your own if you are interested. I’ll just mention that this beast works 24×7. There are 4 people in each of 3 shifts. There are few cabins for rest, food, and toilet on board, so that the crew don’t have to go down.