Highly specialized engineering operations often require vehicles that are on a scale seen nowhere else in the industry, and the BelAz 75710 is no exception. The largest dump truck in the world features a conventional 2-axle set-up but with 4 wheels on each axle. The turning radius is 20 meters and it can travel up to a top speed of 64 km/hr. It is hard to grasp the absolute scale of a truck this large, but imagine a 3-story tall building moved by 3-meter wheels, then you start to get the picture.
The Siemens MMT 500 drive system is powered by dual 65-litre 16-cylinder diesel engines, each with 2,300 horsepower. This power gives the truck the capability of hauling 496 tons of load. What applications could possibly warrant the need for a truck that could carry away your whole neighborhood? Mining.
Large scale mining is about the only industry where carrying this amount of dirt for the cost of one of these trucks makes any sense. Oh, did we mention each one costs US$6 million? Don't expect the fuel efficiency of the 75710 to win any awards either, as the fuel consumption is 198 g/kWh per engine. The Belarusian manufacturer is investing a total of US$644 million into developing the truck further, and it is one of the most impressive mechanical engineering feats ever constructed.
[Image Source: Awesome Earthmovers]
I have had the pleasure of visiting a large scale mining operation and seeing one of the BelAz 75710's close relatives. Seeing a truck that is larger than the house you grew up in is a little intimidating at first, and it really makes you appreciate the engineering profession you have gotten into. The largest truck in the world is so large that it feels like it shouldn't be able to move. It is a marvel of mechanical engineering, and its scale will likely never be topped. Until, maybe, we start mining Mars where the lower gravity allows for bigger vehicles. Who knows.