This earthmoving and mining equipment section lists equipment that has been designed primarily to move earth and minerals in large earthmoving and mining projects. Some of this equipment finds it place in other applications, however, and the use of bulldozers and articulated trucks on road and highway projects are just a couple of examples.
One area of surface mining includes giant machines such as drills, electric shovels, and giant draglines, some of which have buckets that are capable of moving 160 cubic yards of material in one scoop. Although somewhat smaller than the electric shovel or especially the giant dragline, the mass excavator also fits here, which is basically a large version of the excavator that is used more for mass excavation than for more limited exaction or trenching.
Underground mining equipment is aimed at moving material in a very headroom and space environment. You will notice similarities with some of the surface mining equipment, as well as some very specialized pieces, developed specifically for the underground mining application.
An articulated dump truck has a hinge between the cab and the dump box but is distinct from semi-trailer trucks in that the cab is a permanent fixture, not a separable vehicle. Steering is accomplished via hydraulic rams that pivot the entire cab, rather than rack and pinion steering on the front axle. This vehicle is highly adaptable to rough terrain.
The term bulldozer technically refers only to a shovel-like blade, over the years people have come to associate the term bulldozer to the entire vehicle both blade and crawler tractor combined.
Bulldozers are a powerful tracked piece of equipment and the tracks give them excellent ground hold and mobility through very rough terrain. Wide tracks help distribute the bulldozer’s weight over a large area (decreasing pressure), thus preventing it from sinking in sandy or muddy ground.
Many wheel dozers were developed from wheel loaders by fitting a dozer blade in place of the loader arms and bucket. This adaptation was only a success where the machine was used for light-duty tasks.
The first large rubber-tired dozer suitable for earthmoving applications were those produced by none other than earthmoving pioneer R.G. LeTourneau, beginning in 1947. He developed four sizes known as the Models A, B, C, and Tournadozers.
A cable tractor is a machine used for pulling cables which either can be an electrical cable for a mining shovel or wire ropes during a shovel rope change.
A dragline excavator is a piece of equipment used in civil engineering and surface mining. In civil engineering, the smaller types are used for pile driving rigs. The larger types are used in strip-mining operations to move overburden above coal, and for tar-sand mining. Draglines are amongst the largest mobile equipment ever built on land, and weigh in the vicinity of 2000 metric tons, though specimens weighing up to 13,000 metric tons have also been constructed.
The purpose of drilling into rock is to provide a “blasthole” into which explosives can be loaded, and detonated to make the site easier to work in.
Scrapers are large motorized machines used for digging, hauling and levelling out materials in a variety of construction jobs. Running on massive rubber tires, motorized scrapers quickly move large quantities of earth around a construction site, unlike the less popular pull-type scraper.
A shotcreter is a mechanized shotcrete spraying system developed specifically for underground ground support applications. Shotcrete is concrete (or sometimes mortar) conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface, as a construction technique. Shotcrete undergoes placement and compaction at the same time due to the force with which it is projected from the nozzle. It can be impacted onto any type or shape of surface, including vertical or overhead areas.
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