A bucket wheel excavator is a construction equipment used for excavating and digging dirt. It performs this task by using a conveyor apparatus, chutes and buckets. Also known as BWEs, they are used mainly in construction projects and cross-pit mining.
Bucket Wheel Excavator Size
BWEs are among the largest machines on the planet, capable of mining 313,908 cubic yards (240,000 m3) of dirt and earth daily. Typical BWEs weigh over 11,000 tons and are a hundred feet tall or more. Due to the size of these machines, they take several years to construct.
Largest Bucket Wheel Excavator
The biggest BWE is the MAN Takraf RB293. The machine is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest terrestrial land vehicle ever made. While other bucket wheel excavator sizes dwarf other construction equipment, the Takraf’s dimensions are simply gargantuan. It is 94 meters (310 feet) high and 722 feet (220 m) long.
The machine can dig up, 8.475 million cubic feet (0.2 million m3) every day. This is equal to the size of a football field. The Takraf weighs 31.3 million lbs or 4.2 million kg. Its speed is 0.62 miles (1 km) per hour. It will take the machine three weeks to travel 22 km.
The Takraf is used for large scale mining projects. Excavation is done via the use of a rotator wheel attached to the end of the arm. It uses several buckets to dig the earth. After the dirt is collected, it is placed in the conveyor belt.
Other Types of BWEs
Bucyrus-Erie Co was the first to make cross-pit BWEs back in 1954. It had 9 buckets, with each bucket capable of holding one cubic yard (0.76 m3). The same company made a BWE that could take out glacial till.
Called the 1050-WX, it was set on a stripping shovel. The cutting face capability was 1,000 feet (305 m) high. It had 1,000 hp and weighed in at 1,600 tons.
The 1060WX, built in 1967 was constructed of new parts. It was built with hydraulic leveling cylinders. The machine weighed 1,735 tons back then. Another large BWE is the Schr 1900/5 28. It has a dozen buckets, capable of containing 2.4 cubic yards. The tracks are 9 feet wide.
The bucket wheel excavator sizes are expected to get larger as mining and construction operations become more complex and demanding. For the time being however, the Takraf remains the biggest BWE in existence.