How Does the World's Largest Land Vehicle Work?

It's an excavator

It's called MAN Takraf RB293 and it's the largest terrestrial vehicle in human history,making the huge NASA Crawler that transports space shuttles to the launch pads look like a Volkswagen Beetle.

Bucket-wheel excavators are heavy machines used in the mining industry and civil engineering. They are also some of the largest vehicles ever built.

The world's largest land vehicle is one of them and it entered the Guiness Book of World Records due to its absolutely tremendous size.

Of course, it's only used in some equally big surface mining operations (some open pit mines, for example, are visible from orbit) as it can't go around town, or around anything, for that matter, as the maximum speed is under one kilometer per hour.

MAN is a German industrial vehicles manufacturer and they must be pretty proud of their creation, since they use it in an open-cast coal mine in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia.

Let's look at some numbers: the monster of all monsters is 220 m (722 ft) long, and 94.5 m (310 ft) tall at its highest point.

It's capable of moving 240,000 m³ (8.475 million ft³) of earth per day, which means that it can dig a hole the length of a football field to over 25 meters deep in a single day.

As a heavyweight champion of the world, it weighs in a staggering 14,196 tonnes (31.3 million lb) and because of that, combined with the "impressive" speed it took over three weeks to make the 22 kilometer (14 mile) trip to the Garzweiler mine, traveling across Autobahn 61, the Erft, a railroad line and several roads.

For excavation, it uses a very large rotating wheel located at the end of the long arm and a series of buckets on the outer edge of that wheel. With every turn of the wheel, every bucket picks up a big chunk of rock or soil and carries it to the back of the wheel.

There, the material falls onto a conveyor belt and is then carried up the arm toward the body of the massive excavator, where more conveyor belts, usually mounted end-to-end, move it to the dumping site.

As to its fuel consumption, the manufacturers don't usually bother mentioning it, but it sure makes the gas-guzzling Hummer look like a lawnmower or a moped.


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