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Bagger 288: The Biggest Meanest Machine in the World

The Bagger 288, also known as the Excavator 288, is the largest digging machine in the world. It was built by the German company Krupp for the energy and mining firm Rheinbraun. When its construction was completed in 1978, Bagger 288 superseded NASA's Crawler-Transporter, used to carry the Space Shuttle and Apollo Saturn V launch vehicle, as the largest tracked vehicle in the world at 13,500 tons.
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Some facts:
  • The machine is up to 220 m (721 ft) long and approximately 96 m (315 ft) high
  • It weighs 13,500 tons
  • It can excavate 240,000 tons of coal or 240,000 cubic meters of overburden daily – the equivalent of a football field dug to 30 m (98 ft) deep.
  • The large surface area of the tracks means the ground pressure of the Bagger 288 is very small (17.1 N/cm2 or 24.8 psi). This allows the excavator to travel over gravel, earth and even grass without leaving a significant track.
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