A massive bucket wheel excavator

A massive bucket wheel excavator

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Credit: TONY CRADDOCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A massive bucket wheel excavator at an open cast coal mine near Cologne, West Germany. The excavator is operated by a crew of five, moving up to 110, 000 cubic meters of coal or earth every day. Each machine is 220 meters in length, 85 meters high, with a gross weight of 13000 tons. It is capable of moving at speeds of up to 10 meters per minute. Each bucket on the excavator's wheel is large enough to hold a small car. The vast scale of the excavator means that it has to be constructed on site, taking around two years to complete.

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Keywords: coal mine, excavator, mining industry, open cast mining

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