The German company Krupp built the Bagger 288, a bucket-wheel excavator,
for the mining firm Rheinbraun. It's purpose was to remove "overburden" and
coal at the German Tagebau Hambach coal mine.
The massive machine weighs 13,500 tons, is up to 721 ft long and approximately 315 ft high. It runs on 16.56 megawatts of externally supplied electricity. The minimum turning radius is around 328 ft and it can climb a maximum of gradient of 1:18 (5% incline). The excavating head is almost 71 ft in diameter. Each of the 18 buckets holds 8.6 yd3 of overburden.
The Bagger 288 excavated enough coal to fill nearly 2,500 rail cars daily. After 13 years, the mine was depleted. The question became, what to do with the Bagger 288? Deciding to move the vehicle 14 miles away to another mine only created another problem. How?
The 151 ft wide chassis sits on 3 rows of 4 caterpillar track assemblies, each 12 ft wide. By spreading its weight over a large surface, the ground pressure of the Bagger 288 is small. Still, getting the vehicle stuck in mud would have been disastrous. So, any dirt along the travel path had to be pre-seeded with grass.
The 14 mile trip to the Tagebau Garzweiler took three weeks, involved a team of 70 workers and cost nearly 15 million German marks (currently around 8.6 million dollars). Moving it was still more economical than disassembling the vehicle and moving it piece by piece. The Bagger 288 had to cross Autobahn 61, the Erft river, a railroad line and several roads.
Bagger 288 Trivia
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