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Old 11-14-2012, 11:13 AM   #1
Sniper X OP
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Heavy Equipment

I did a cool job a few years ago. It was up at a local coal mine, open pit. They scrub off the spoil with this thing called a drag line, which is a big (very) shovel. They then go down to the coal vein and drill holes for explosives and blow it up. After that they go in with huge trucks and front end loaders and scoop it up and transport it by rail car to the plant. One of the drag lines, which are so huge, they can't be driven on tracks, was in need of a little accident investigation since the operator had managed to knock the wire ropes off the top sheaves (rollers or pulleys) and it costs many hundreds of thousands of dollars when that happens in lost revenue and repair. I installed four CCTV cameras on it including one at the top of the front bar which is like 200ft off the ground. It worked, and they found out why the wire rope came off. Fun job too. Here is a pic of myself and my tech standing in front of the SMALLER of the three buckets. The big one holds 30 full sized pick up trucks....



BTW this pic is where the shovel fell, it is almost half buried in the dirt!
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:18 AM   #2
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Day-um!
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:20 AM   #3
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Day-um!
You should see the thing that uses that shovel. And being inside it is awesome, It looked like a building inside.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:49 PM   #4
adam_c_eckhardt
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Do you have any pictures of the rest of it? How the hell do they move that around?
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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Used to be that Trans Alta had a really big drag line working on the North side of hwy16
west of Edmonton. Maybe it's still there, dunno.

Most of them move(the really big ones) by walking on pads. No tracks.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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It has a big round pad under the center and it "walks" or scoots by picking the pad up off the ground with a couple arms that have long horizontal feet on them and moving the pad forward or backward. Imagine it as if you sit on the floor legs sticking out forward, and pressing on the floor with your hands picking your butt up off the floor, and ricking forward then letting your butt back down on the floor. I call it the imperial walker. It is weird since you can't FEEL any of this happening when it is underway if you are inside it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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Do you have any pictures of the rest of it? How the hell do they move that around?
They can't ship it built either, the guy told me it had to be brought there is pieces, on 30 rail cars and assembled on site.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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Those things are common as mushrooms in a lawn around here.

Still cool though.

I was taking my pre-employment tour with a safety officer at Black Thunder, and we were parked several hundred yards from the spoil pile Ursa Major (the largest dragline in North America, IIRC) was dumping on. The truck shook every time a load hit that pile.

That machine made me feel very small.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sniper X View Post
It has a big round pad under the center and it "walks" or scoots by picking the pad up off the ground with a couple arms that have long horizontal feet on them and moving the pad forward or backward. Imagine it as if you sit on the floor legs sticking out forward, and pressing on the floor with your hands picking your butt up off the floor, and ricking forward then letting your butt back down on the floor. I call it the imperial walker. It is weird since you can't FEEL any of this happening when it is underway if you are inside it.
The Discovery Channel ran a story on large drag lines and shovels a couple of years ago. Some serious shit! They are all assembled on site because of their size. The part about how they move, as you described, or some they showed that "walked"....very cool.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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My explosives classes were part of the mining department of my university, so I got to see some cool big tools like that. Probably the smallest power tool a miner uses is the jack-leg drill. I ran one a few times in limestone and even that was a terrifying (awesome) experience. A good friend of mine works on a drag line in Texas. I still want to see a drag line or cast blast in person. Anyways..

Cool stuff!
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:21 PM   #11
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Big Muskie!

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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I still want to see a...cast blast in person.
They're fun.

More fun if you don't actually have to load the holes yourself.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:07 PM   #13
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Big Muskie!

This is me in front of Big Muskie's bucket. It's all that's left...



I get to work with the big stuff all the time, mostly cranes.

This is the biggest one to date. It's a ringer crane that will lift 1,800 tons. The building next to the crane is 150 feet high, and the load was 450 tons. We lifted it 170 feet away from the crane.



The hook alone weighs 25 tons. It wasn't the biggest hook the crane uses. It has 5 miles 2" hoist cable, and came to site on 120 trucks. Assembly took 6 weeks.



This gives some idea of scale...



Not nearly as big as the old school walking draglines, but the fact it all breaks down in to 40ft container sized loads is pretty impressive.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:15 PM   #14
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Steam Generator replacement?
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:22 PM   #15
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Steam Generator replacement?
Yup. Watts Bar, Tn in '06
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