Why Does the World's Largest Vehicle Even Exist?

Bagger 293 is 315 feet tall, 738 feet long, and weighs 14,200 tons.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Bagger 293 is a massive Guinness Book of Records- winning bucket-wheel excavator made by the German industrial company TAKRAF. It is used for mining in a brown coal mine near Hambach in Germany. 

Bagger 293 is 314.9 feet (96 meters) tall and 738.2 feet (225 meters) long. It weighs 14,200 tonnes (31.3 million pounds) and requires five people to operate. Its bucket wheel is over 69.9 feet (21.3 meters) in diameter with 18 buckets and it can dig up over 8,500,000 ft3 (240,000 m3) or about 218,880 tonnes of soil per day.

This begs the question: Why does bagger need to be so big? The answer is efficiency. For modern coal mines, it's basically cheaper and faster to remove the ground than to tunnel underneath it but it requires very large machines to do so.

Bagger 293 can do the work of 40,000 miners 24/7 while costing a lot less and it produces over $1 billion worth of brown coal a year.

But how does it work exactly? What is the engineering and technology behind it? What are the safety measures put in place? And how quickly does it work? This video answers all these questions and more and brings you footage of the Bagger 293 in action.

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