The Largest Land Vehicle in the World
The $100 million Bagger 288 (Excavator 288), built by the German company Krupp (now ThyssenKrupp) for the energy and mining firm Rheinbraun, is a bucket-wheel excavator or mobile strip mining machine.
When its construction was completed in 1978, Bagger 288 superseded NASA’s Crawler-Transporter, used to carry the Space Shuttle and Apollo Saturn V launch vehicle, as the largest land vehicle in the world. It is 311 feet (95 meters) tall, 705 feet (215 meters) long and weighs 45,500 tons. The machine took five years to design and manufacture and another five years to assemble.
The Bagger 288 was built for the job of removing overburden prior to coal mining in Tagebau Hambach (Hambach stripmine), Germany. It can excavate 240,000 tons of coal or 240,000 cubic metres of overburden daily – the equivalent of a soccer field dug to 30 meters (98 ft) deep. The coal produced in one day fills 2400 coal wagons. It takes five people to operate the machine.
Bagger 288 – World’s Largest Land Vehicle
- The Bagger’s operation requires 16.56 megawatts of externally supplied electricity
- It can travel 2 to 10 m (6.6 to 33 ft) per minute (0.1 to 0.6 km/h)
- The chassis of the main section is 46m (151 ft) wide & sits on 3 rows of 4 caterpillar track assemblies, each 3.8m (12 ft) wide
- It has a minimum turning radius of approximately 100 meters, and can climb a maximum gradient of 1:18
- The excavating head itself is 21.6 m in diameter and has 18 buckets each holding 6.6 cubic meters (8.6 yd³) of overburden
By February 2001, the excavator had completely exposed the coal source at the Tagebau Hambach mine and was no longer needed there. In three weeks it made a 22-kilometer (14 mi) trip to the Tagebau Garzweiler, traveling across Autobahn 61, the river Erft, a railroad line, and several roads. The move cost about $10 million US and required a team of seventy workers.
Bagger 288 is one of a group of similar sized and built vehicles, such as Bagger 281 (built in 1958), Bagger 285 (1975), Bagger 287 (1976), Bagger 293 (1995).
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