Bucket-Wheel Excavators

Continuing this week’s theme of mining, today we’re visiting Germany’s lignite mining area to find some of the largest land vehicles on Earth! Lignite (or “brown coal”) is found in 3 nearby open cast mines in the Rhineland; Hambach, Bergheim and Garzweiler. Collectively they extract over 100 million tons of lignite every year. Extracting such massive amounts of coal requires massive machines — hence the development of these descriptively named “Bucket-Wheel Excavators“. Their operation is simple; a large rotating wheel has numerous buckets around the rim – which scoop up the lignite (or soil), and then drop it…

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