Science

Amazing Vehicles That Are so Big and Bad They’re Awesome

By Robin Mei - January 10, 2017

Belaz 75710

The Belaz 75710 is the largest dump truck ever made to date and it is definitely impressive looking. This colossal vehicle is 20.6 meters (67.5 feet) long, 8.16 meters (26.7 feet) high and 9.87 meters (32.3 feet) wide.

Its payload capacity is 450 tonnes (496 U.S. tons) and it can travel at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers (64 miles) per hour thanks to the power of its two16-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines and eight huge tires supporting its frame.

Source: The World’s Largest Mining Trucks

Myria Antonov An-225

The world’s biggest airplane is the Antonov An-225, otherwise known as Mriya. This enormous plane was designed in the 1980s by the Soviets to carry their Buran space shuttle and other extremely heavy cargo.

The size of Antonov An-225 Mriya is impressive. It is 84 meters (275 feet) long, has a wingspan of 88 meters (288 feet) and weighs in at 175 metric tons (193 U.S. tons) without fuel and cargo. Its maximum takeoff weight is a staggering 640 metric tons (over 705 U.S. tons).

Source: World’s Biggest Plane Antonov An-225 Mriya Landing

Australian BHP Iron Ore Train

The record for being the world’s longest bulk train belongs to the Australian BHP Iron ore train. It was set on June 21, 2001, when this huge train headed out to Port Headland from Newman in Western Australia.

The train had an amazing 682 cars and eight GE AC6000 locomotives, which made for a combined length of over seven kilometers (4.5 miles). When all of its cars were fully loaded the total weight of this train was almost 100,000 metric tons (over 110,000 U.S. tons).

 

Big Muskie

Big Muskie is (or better said, was) the world’s largest single-bucket digging machine ever made. It was built onsite in 1969 for the Central Ohio Coal Company to support their ever-expanding coal business.

Big Muskie was 46 meters (151 feet) wide, 67.6 meters (222 feet) tall, and 148 meters (487 feet) long. It took over two years to build this huge machine and the next 22 years for the Big Muskie to earn its retirement.

Source: Big Muskie Bucket

Caterpillar 797

The Caterpillar 797 is an enormous haul truck designed to transfer immense amounts of ore over long distances, with a payload capacity of up to 327 metric tons (360 U.S.tons) per trip.

The length of this truck is 14.5 meters (47.6 feet), it is nine meters (30 feet) wide and its height is over seven meters (23 feet). It requires six tires — two in the front and four in the back — to keep this big boy moving.

Source: Caterpillar 797 Rock Truck

Dodge Power Wagon

The Dodge Power Wagon is one of the first and the most popular mass-produced 4×4 truck amongst enthusiasts of all time. Initially, this vehicle was designed for the for the U.S. special forces.

There are several variations of the Power Wagon, but the largest in the world (pictured here) was custom-built for billionaire Hamad bin Hamdan al Nahyan. It is eight times larger than the original and comes decked out with bedrooms and bathrooms.

Source: 10 Tiniest Microcars Ever Made (And 10 Longest Cars That Shouldn’t Be Street Legal)

F60 Overburden Conveyor Bridge

It may look strange to have a bridge listed amongst trucks, airplanes and other examples of the biggest vehicles in the world, but when you’re talking about the F60 Overburden Conveyor Bridge it seems to fit right in.

The F60, which is usually found hauling brown coal from mines in Germany, measures in at 80 meters (262 feet) tall, 240 meters (787 feet) wide, and over 500 meters (1,647 feet) long. That half-kilometer-long body comes with a weight of about 13,600 metric tons (14,991 U.S. tons).

Source: This is the largest movable machine in the world

Herrenknecht EPB Shield S-300

Some may argue whether this machine can be treated as a vehicle or not, but since it drives itself we’re going to classify it as one. This is the Herrenknecht EPB Shield S-300, the world’s most massive tunnel-boring machine ever built.

This behemoth was built in 2005 to help build a road tunnel in Madrid, with its (literally) ground-breaking 6.4 meters (21 feet) in diameter central cutting wheel fitted to this truly enormous, mega excavation gian.

Source: It’s Just Cool: Herrenknecht EPB Shield S-300

LeTourneau TC-497 Overland Train

One of the most striking monster-like vehicles in existence is the LeTourneau TC-497 overland train. LeTourneau trains were designed and constructed to access and travel through trackless terrains and wilderness.

This particular example, the LeTourneau TC-497, was specially made for severe Arctic weather conditions in isolated regions. This overland train was almost 175 meters (572 feet) long and could carry up to 136 metric tonnes (150 U.S. tons).

Source: 54-wheel-drive: The LeTourneau electric arctic land trains that put Australian road trains to shame

MiL V-12 Helicopter

The Mil V-12 helicopter, also known as the Homer, is the world’s biggest and one of the most powerful helicopters of all time. With its imposing size of 37 meters (121 feet) in length, 67 meters (220 feet) in width and 12.5 meters (41 feet) in height, this propeller beast was designed to lift some serious loads.

The Mil V-12 project was developed in the USSR during the Cold War, but despite its potential the project was canceled after only a couple of prototypes were built.

Source: MiL V-12

NASA Crawler Transporter

The NASA Crawler Transporter was built to move space shuttles, so it has to be enormously big and fantastically strong. The crawler has two 2,750 horsepower V16 diesel engines and a top speed of 3.2 kilometers (two miles) per hour.

Its speed may not be that impressive, but keep in mind that a single shuttle can weigh about 75 metric tons (over 82 U.S. tons) when empty. When you add in the solid rocket boosters and fuel, only hitting single digits for the speed max isn’t too bad.

Source: Some of the biggest land vehicles the world has ever seen

Prelude FLNG

The Prelude FLNG is one of the world’s largest ships at 488 meters (1600 feet) in length and 74 meters (243 feet) in width. It weighs over 600,000 metric tons (631,000 U.S. tons) when fully loaded.

Prelude is the Shell Oil Company’s first “Floating Liquefied Natural Gas” (FLNG), designed to produce natural gas from remote fields in Australia. Its operational lifespan is about 25 years, so we can say the Prelude FLNG is not only built to be big but to be long-lasting as well.

Source: Floating LNG

Schuerle SPMT

The Scheuerle SPMT is one of the biggest transporters the world has ever seen. This “Self-Propelled Modular Transporter” vehicle was originally designed in 1983, and it revolutionized large haulage when introduced 35 years ago.

A single module of the Scheuerle SPMT is far from being the largest vehicle in the world and it doesn’t have the height of larger vehicles, but you can connect its modules together into an almost endless chain of transport power.

Source: Some of the biggest land vehicles the world has ever seen

Schwerer Gustav Cannon

Schwerer Gustav sounds more like a name of a person than a lethal weapon, but unfortunately, a machine made for war is what the Gustav really was. Moreover, it was considered to be the “king of siege weapons” as it could launch 7-ton shells at targets 50 kilometers (30 miles) away.

The Gustav and its sister in arms, Dora, were built under orders of Adolph Hitler in 1939 and 1941 to break through the strongest fortifications in France during WWII. The Gustav was used only once and Dora never saw action.

World's Longest Limo

This limousine holds the record as the longest car in the world with a length of 30 meters (100 feet). Designed and built by Jay Ohrburg in Burbank, California, this over-the-top car has an amazing 26 wheels and needs two skilled operators to drive it.

The amenities of this limo are as equally impressive as its tech specs. It has a hot tub and a swimming pool, a sun deck and a king-sized bed. Did we mention there’s also a helipad?

Bagger 288

Now we take you into the world of bucket-wheel excavators. Machines so massive one picture can’t do them justice…

The Bagger 288 is one of the biggest land vehicles in the world with an impressive length of 225 meters (738 feet) and a height of 96 meters (315 feet). It also weighs more than 8,600 cars.

This excavator was built for life in the mines. Its wheel is 22 meters (72 feet) in diameter and carries 18 buckets. It can move up to 240,000 cubic meters (8,475,520 cubic feet) of dirt per day.

Source: Bagger 288 – a giant among bucket wheel excavators

The Bagger 288's Wheel

The easiest way to get some perspective on the size of a mechanical titan is to compare it with something familiar, like a car. This image shows only one impressive detail of the Bagger 288 —its bucket wheel.

There’s a ‘regular’ vehicl parked just in front of it, and you can see how tiny this truck seems (even though we all know that it’s not a Dinky car) in comparison with the wheel.

Source: 11 World’s Biggest Vehicles (like… Mind-Blowingly Large)

Bagger 293

The Bagger 293 was built in 1995 and ranks as one of the most impressive bucket wheel excavators ever. Its 20 buckets are attached to a wheel that is 21 meters (70 feet) in diameter.

This mighty machine is about 96 meters (315 feet) in height, 225 meters (740 feet) in length and weighs a mind-blowing 14 million kilograms (31 million pounds).The Bagger 293 is capable of moving over 240,000 cubic meters (8.5 million cubic feet) of soil in just one day.

Source: Biggest Vehicle in the World: Bagger 293

The Bagger 293 Moves Slow. Very, Very Slow

The Bagger 293 also holds two Guinness records for being both the largest and the heaviest land vehicle in the world. Its size is so impressive that one can’t help but wonder how this giant vehicle traveled from the factory to the mine. Well, slowly.

When the 293 was manufactured in Germany over 20 years ago, it took it more than three weeks to make its journey to the Garzweiler mine, traveling at only one kilometer (0.6 miles) per hour.

Source:Bucket-wheel excavator

What the Bagger 293 Can Do

It takes a crew of five to operate the Bagger 293 as it’s digging out enormous heap of soil and dirt every day. This Bagger can dig a 25-meter-deep pit (over 80 feet) the size of a football field in just one day.

The Bagger 293 uses a huge rotating wheel with twenty buckets to pick up the earth. As the wheel rotates, it dumps it onto a conveyor belt which then transports it to other vehicles.

Some Bucket Excavator History

The history of the bucket wheel excavator goes back almost a century. The first ancestors of the Bagger 288 and the Bagger 293 were made in the 1920s, and ever since these big machines have been staples in the mining industry.

The basic engineering principles of bucket wheel excavators and the mechanics behind them haven’t changed much since the first one was builtbut their size has drastically increased, especially since the end of World War II.

Source: Bucket-wheel excavator

Why These Huge Machines?

Some of the first extremely large bucket wheel excavators were made in the 1950s. Three of them were ordered and built for mining lignite (brown coal) near the city of Cologne, which is often referred to as the historical center of the mining and steel industries in Germany.

These forerunners of today’s gigantic BWEs were 180 meters (600 feet) long and weighed over 5,000 metric tons (5,500 U.S. tons). The bucket wheels were about 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter, which is impressive but stil pretty small in comparison to the Bagger 288 and Bagger 293.

Pushing the Limits

The size of bucket wheel excavators went beyond what people thought was possible in the late 1970s when the Bagger 288 was made for use in  the Garzweiler mine in Germany.

The 288 was the largest bucket wheel excavator in the world when it was put into operation back in 1978, and it held that record for almost 20 years until its sibling, the Bagger 293, was introduced. Still, the 288 remains one of the most colossal vehicles the world has ever seen.

Made For Working in Extreme Conditions

Credits: Image: Elsdorf-blog.de

The 1990s led to further expansion of bucket wheel excavators. Both their size and capacity have reached the limits of what’s possible — or have they? Currently, a single Bagger 293 bucket can hold over 15 cubic meters (almost 530 cubic feet) of earth.

A big leap was also made when it comes to BWEs’ capabilities to operate in extreme conditions. Most of them can work without any trouble even when temperatures drop to an unforgiving −45 °C (−49 °F).

What's Next?

With the advance of 21st-century technology, bucket wheel excavators continue to develop further, not so much in size, but in the way they operate.

Engineers and other experts in related fields are now working on additional automation of these huge machines by integrating new sensors and electrical components, data acquisition methods and online monitoring systems, plus other computer-based functions which can help improve the productivity of the bucket wheel excavators of the future.