Bagger 288 is a bucket-wheel excavator or mobile strip mining equipment manufactured by Krupp in Germany for the Rheinbraun energy and mining corporation for $100 million.
Bagger 288 was the world’s biggest land vehicle when it was finished in 1978, surpassing NASA’s Crawler-Transporter, which carried the Space Shuttle and the Apollo Saturn V launch vehicle. With a height of 95 meters (311 feet) and a length of 215.5 meters (705 feet), it is 45,500 tons heavy. In all, the machine took ten years to develop, build, and assemble.
This German mining equipment is one of the world’s biggest land vehicles, standing taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighing more than the Eiffel Tower. A bucket-wheel excavator like this one is used to cut out an entire town in HBO’s Westworld. Open-pit mines employ these diggers. 8.5 million cubic feet of soil can be moved each day by the Bagger 288 excavator, which has a spinning wheel of buckets for shoveling.
Where is it used?
The Bagger 288 was designed to remove overburden from the Tagebau Hambach coal mine in Germany before mining could begin. Daily, it is capable of excavating the equivalent of a soccer field to a depth of 30 meters (98 ft) or 265,000 tons of brown coal, often known as lignite, in a single day. And what about the staff needed to handle such a massive tanker? In order to run the machine, four to five persons are required.
Bagger 288 Structure
Four conveyor belts collect overburden (soil and rock) or lignite from buckets and transport the material at a speed of over 11 mph. The belts are each 10.5 feet wide, making it easy to transport a Smart car on them.
The 13,000 tons Bagger moves at a slow speed of 0.4 mph using 8,600 square feet of the tread.
The excavator is powered by 5,600 feet of electrical lines, each of which is the diameter of a man’s arm. It can consume as much energy as a 20,000-person city does at any given time.
The structure has 88,000 pounds of paint on it and is made up of two 148-foot-tall pylons and 7,218 feet of steel suspension cables.
The bucket-height wheels are equivalent to a seven-story structure at 71 feet. Its 18 buckets weigh 7,700 pounds each (empty!) and can shovel 230 cubic feet of soil, enough to fill a cargo vehicle.
Four 840 kW motors power this massive bucket wheel excavator, with a total driving power of 3,360 kW. It’s the same as or more than 30 small sedans. When the excavator travels over grass or soil, it leaves traces no deeper than a human footprint. Bagger 288 travels at a 10 meter per minute speed and needs at least three weeks to complete a 22-kilometer journey.
Where is the Bagger 288 now?
Bagger 288 is now owned and managed by RWE AG, a large energy company, and it is part of a fleet of 1958-built vehicles of the same size.
There are no other earth diggers that can move mountains like the RWE Bagger 288. Similar machines can be used to move mountains in Rosia, Montana, Romania in order to find gold. Canadian business Rosia Montana Gold plans to use Bagger 288 to assist in achieving this goal.
Bagger 288 appeared in the film ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,’ which came out in 2012. The protagonist in the film has used the Bagger 288 as a form of threat against his opponents.