Standing as high as the deck of the Golden Gate
bridge...90 ft Higher that the Statue of Liberty...45ft. higher than
Niagra Falls... this kingsize shovelchews into the earth and with
each bite picks up 200 tons of rock and dirt. Its helpmate stands
nearby, A machine that drilla a 15-in. diameter hole 150 ft. deep
through solid rock in only 15 minutes.
World's largest shovel removes 36 million cu yards of dirt a
year, uncovers 14,000 tons of coal daily.
Sound like something from science fiction? In western
Kentucy at the Sinclair Mine of Peabody Coal Co., the mammoth
stripping shovel, built by Bucyrus-Erie Co.,is proving 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week, that it is not science fiction.
Biting off roomfuls of rock and dirt to uncover seams
of coal, the Bucyrus-Erie shovel is the largest self powered mobile
land vehicle ever built. Manufactured in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
the components were shipped in 300 railroad cars to the mine stie in
western Kentucky, where it required 11 months to erect. the sections
were built like battle-ships, with on of 17 sections, as an example,
weighing almost 50 tons. The sections were fabricated individually,
then carefully machined to fit into a single structural unit.
The sheer size of the new shovel, which is more than 3
times the size of any other shovel in operation, staggers the viewer
and underscores the reason for its being built. Coal reserves in this
western Kentucky area were deeply buried. Until the machine was
concieved, it was not practical to dig out all of the material
necessary to get at the coal.
Boom towers high as a 20 story building. Note
relative size of man in shovel (arrow). Operator rides to his five
story, air-conditioned cab in an elevator
located inside the machine (see circle)
To work with the new shovel, Peabody purchased the
world's two largest rotary blast hole drills from Bucyrus-Erie. With
one-man control, these machines drill 15 in. holes for explosive
charges that blast the rock and dirt loose for the shovel to remove.
The giant stripping shovel towers as high as a
20-story building, and can remove more that 100,000 cu. yds. of
material and uncover 14,000 tons of coal each day, thus fulfilling
its purpose by opening up coal reserves which have been economically
unfeasible in the past. In a single month the shovel can remove
enough material to fill a train streching from Pittsburgh to Chicago.
Perhaps the most surprising fact about the record-size
shovel is the simplicity of it's operation
Sitting at his air-conditioned control booth five
stories up, the operator controls all movements of the monstrous
shovel with just two hand levers and two pedals. He is carried to his
workshop by a special electric elevator located in the center of the
machine. He can accelerate each 200 ton load from 0 to 25 mph in 8
seconds, and can decelerate from top speed to a full stop in 4 seconds.
The King_size shovel, which can outreach an average
city block, is powered by electric motors-- 52 in all -- ranging from
1/4 to 3000 Hp. Power requirements of the monster are equal to that
of a city of 15,000 people. A Half million cubic feet of air per
minute is required for motor cooling alone... matching the air output
of 500 12-in. house-hold fans.
Bigger than a two car garage, this giant dipper gobbles up 200
tons of rock and dirt in every bite
one man operates the mammoth machine with two hand levers and
two pedals, accelerating a dipper load of almost 200 tons from 0 to
25 mph in 8 seconds.
The dipper, whose cubic capacity is bigger than a two
car garage, has a cutting edge which required the largest foundry
pour in the Bucyrus_Erie Company's history. The lip alone is a 20 ton
16 ft. wide casting . . .a one piece casting of a special
Bucyrus-Erie alloy. The massive dipper can uncover enough coal to
heat 7500 average homes one month or 1500 homes for an entire heating season.
Wider than an eight lane highway, the excavating
machine moves on eight crawler treads, each over eight feet high. The
crawlers have almost 300 individual pads, with each pad weighing
nearly two tons. The entire machine is supported on four sets of dual
crawlers which are automatically leveled and equalized through four
hydraulic jacks which weigh 2500 tons and use 4500 gallons of
Two years were needed to design, manufacture, and
erect this gigantic machine.
As you turn up the thermostat in your home this
winter, think about the Bucyrus-Erie coal stripping shovel as it
swings through its 420-ft. arc, making a complete cycle in one
minute, picking up almost 200 tons of earth...every minute, 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week.
It moves on eight crawler treads, each over eight feet high.
The crawlers have 296 pads, each pad is an alloy steel casting which
weighs almost two tons. Even the link pins weigh more than 100 pounds apiece.