A Bucket-Wheel Excavator Straight Out of Mad Max Gobbles Up the Earth

It's surreal.
Derya Ozdemir

Have you ever seen a bucket-wheel excavator in action? You can find one wherever large amounts of earth have to be extracted and moved efficiently and cost-effectively. These continuous mining machines for overburden, which includes semi-hard materials like clay, sand, gravel, and marl, as well as lignite and hard coal, are a sight to see indeed: They look somehow post-apocalyptic, and some may even find them frightening due to their intimidating size and power. At the end of the day, however, they are basically huge shovels that were engineered meticulously.

For example, check out the Bagger 288, which was built by the German company Krupp, to remove overburden before coal mining. It can excavate 240,000 tons of coal or 240,000 cubic meters of overburden daily, comparable to a soccer field dug to a depth of 98 feet (30 m). If you want to see a bucket-wheel excavator in action, make sure you watch the video embedded above, and hold on to your seat because it will undoubtedly blow you away.

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