What are the largest mining excavators in the world?

Here are some of the largest excavators mining rigs in the world right now.

Mining excavators, or, should we say, mining mills on steroids, are some of the most impressive pieces of engineering around. They can also reach very, very large sizes indeed!

Here, we explore eleven of the largest excavators mining machines ever built. Enjoy!

What is an Excavator?

Source: Ralf Peter Reimann/Flickr

An excavator, as the name suggests, is a construction machine (usually diesel-powered) designed specifically for digging earth using various tools. They tend to be equipped with a front bucket for creating trenches, holes, and foundations.

But they can do much more than that. Once the bulldozer is swapped out for other attachments, excavators can drive piles, clear brush, load, grade job site dumps, and perform other activities on heavy-duty construction sites.

They are usually tracked, but some can also have wheels. Historically, cable or wire ropes were used to transmit drilling power, but today they are exclusively hydraulic.

These machines are ubiquitous on many construction sites around the world.

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What are the largest mining excavators in the world?

So, without further ado, here are some of the biggest and worst mining rigs in the world. Please note that this list is not comprehensive and is in no particular order.

Please also note that we have rated ‘largest’ based on operating weight.

1. The Bucyrus RH 340/RH 340-B is a mighty machine!

Source: Mining Equipment

This beast is the first item on our list of the largest mining excavators. It is stated to be the tenth-biggest excavator in use right now. At 550 tons, the formidable Bucyrus RH340 is a heavy machine. There are two available configurations for this model: shovel-loading and backhoe.

The crawler measures 9.23 meters (30 feet) in length and 7 meters (23 feet) in width at the undercarriage. This impressive piece of equipment includes a 34-cubic-meter (1200-cubic-foot) backhoe bucket and shovel. Its shovel breakout force is 1,640 kN, and its crowding force is 2,240 kN.

Additionally, it has a 1,270 kN breakout force and a 1,240 kN tear-out force during backhoe operations. Two 2,520-horsepower Cummins K1500E engines power these beasts. Additionally, two QSK45 diesel engines installed in it can produce 3,000 horsepower at 1,800 rpm.

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2. The Bucyrus RH400 is the RH340’s bigger brother

The largest excavators
Source: School of Rock Mining

For good reason, Bucyrus is represented by two entries on our list of the largest mining excavators. Caterpillar currently owns the Bucyrus RH400, which is purportedly the largest hydraulic excavator in the world. At roughly 980 tons, this enormous front shovel excavator is quite heavy. Additionally, it has a crawler length of 10.98 meters (36 feet) and an undercarriage width of 8.6 meters (28 feet).

The material can be removed in 45 cubic meters (1,589 cubic feet) with one shovel scoop. We dare any unlucky rock face to resist this machine, with an arm crowd force of 3,300 kN and a breakout force of 2,400 kN. Two 16-cylinder Cat 3516B or Cummins QSK60 diesel engines power the Bucyrus RH400.

3. The Demag H740 OS is one mean machine

The largest excavators
Source: Demag

With an operating weight of 744 tons, this impressive piece of equipment is the fourth-largest excavator in the world. Designed for KMC Mining in Canada, this beast has been in operation since 1999 and is intended to be used in abrasive oil sands.

With a breakout force of 2,320 kN and an impressive shovel capacity of 40 cubic meters (1413 cubic feet), this machine is quite capable. It is propelled by two 16-cylinder, 1,800 rpm CAT 3516B diesel engines that produce 4,000 horsepower.

4. The Hitachi EX5500-6 is another big excavator

Source: HitachiCME/Twitter

The Hitachi EX5550-6, reputedly the eighth-largest excavator globally, started its remarkable operation in 2008. It is also available in an electrical version that weighs 516 tons and has a standard operating weight of 522 tons. The undercarriage length and width of this machine are 9.35 meters (31 feet) and 7.4 meters (24 feet), respectively.

Its backhoe bucket can scoop 29 cubic meters (1,029 cubic feet), while its loading shovel bucket has a capacity of 27 cubic meters (954 cubic feet). Breakout and crowd forces are greater than 1,570 kN. You ask, the backhoe? This can produce crowd forces of 1,240 kN and digging forces of 1,370 kN, respectively.

5. Hitachi EX5600-6 is another massive excavator

The largest excavators
Source: Hitachi Construction

With a weight of more than 500 tons, this enormous excavator is regarded as the seventh-largest in the world. It was the outstanding EX5500 series’ replacement. This beast weighs 533 tons when operating, including the shovel attachment. You may wonder, What about the undercarriage. Its measurements are 7.4 meters (24 feet) in width and 9.35 meters (31 feet) in length.

This machine is very useful, as it can load shovel buckets up to 29 cubic meters (1,024 cubic feet) and dig a backhoe up to 34 cubic meters (1,200 cubic feet). The forces involved in crowding and breakout are 1,520 kN and 1,590 kN, respectively. These machines are driven by twin 16-cylinder Cummins QSKTA50-CE diesel engines that produce 3,000 horsepower at 1,800 rpm.

6. The Hitachi EX8000-6 makes short work of excavation

The largest excavators
Source: Lecture specs

Sibling to the Hitachi EX5600-6, the Hitachi EX8000-6 is purportedly the world’s second-largest hydraulic excavator. It weighs 811 tons and is equipped with backhoes and shovel attachments. In 2013, the first of these beasts was shipped to Australia’s Meandu coal mine, owned by Stanwell.

The Hitachi EX8000-6 has an undercarriage width of 8.65 meters (28 feet) and a length of 10.5 meters (34 feet). The volume of its bucket is 45 cubic meters (1,589 cubic feet). Shovel forces for crowding and breakout are 2,870 kN and 2,230 kN, respectively. The beast has two 16-cylinder, 3,800-horsepower Cummins QSKTA60-CE diesel engines running at 1,800 rpm. There’s an electric version available as well.

7. Have you seen the size of the Komatsu PC5500-6?

The largest excavators
Source: Lecture Specs

The Komatsu PC5500-6, weighing 495 tons when in operation, is the ninth-largest hydraulic excavator. The PC5500-6 is 7.54 meters (25 feet) wide and has an undercarriage that measures 9.72 meters (32 feet) in length.

The shovel and backhoe on the PC5500-6 have a 29-cubic-meter (1,024-cubic-foot) capacity. The shovel’s breakout and crowd forces are 1,865 kN and 1,870 kN, respectively. Two 12-cylinder Komatsu SDA12V159E-2 diesel engines, each generating 2,520 horsepower at 1,800 rpm, power the entire rig.

8. The Komatsu PC8000-6 is enormous

The largest excavators
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Komatsu PC8000-6, the fifth-largest hydraulic excavator, weighs about 710 tons when in operation. Attachments for a shovel and a backhoe are included.

The dimensions of this beast’s track are 7.955 meters (26 feet) long and 9 meters (30 feet) wide overall. Its bucket holds 38 cubic meters (1,342 cubic feet). The crowd forces for buckets and arms are 1,961 kN and 1,765 kN, respectively. The bucket can reach a maximum of 19.37 meters (64 feet) above ground. Two 16-cylinder Komatsu SDA16B 160 diesel engines that produce 4,020 horsepower at 1,800 rpm power this machine.

9. Liebherr R996 B is the 6th biggest in the world

Biggest excavators
Source: Liebherr

The sixth-largest hydraulic excavator in the world is our penultimate entry in the list of the largest mining excavators. This machine weighs 676 tons when operating with the shovel attachment and 672 tons when using the backhoe attachment. The undercarriage measures 7.9 meters (26 feet) in width and 10 meters (33 feet) in length.

This monster has a total capacity of 26 cubic meters (918 cubic feet) for shovels and backhoes. The shovel has crowding and breakout forces of 2,430 kN and 1,905 kN, and the backhoe has digging and breakout forces of 1,550 kN and 1,670 kN. Two 16-cylinder Cummins K 1800 E diesel engines producing 3,000 horsepower at 1,800 rpm power the rig.

10. The Liebherr R9800 is an absolute beast

Source: Dints/Twitter

This machine, which was constructed in 2008 at Liebherr’s Colmar factory in France, is the third-largest hydraulic excavator in the world. It weighs 810 tons with the shovel attachment and 800 tons with the backhoe alone.

With a maximum crowd and breakout force of 3,900 kN and 2,395 kN for its shovel, respectively, and a capacity of 42 cubic meters (1,483 cubic feet) for its backhoe, its undercarriage measures 10.84 meters (36 feet) in length. The backhoe has 1,760 kN of digging force and 1,980 kN of breakout force. Two 16-cylinder Cummins QSK60 diesel engines with 4,000 horsepower and 1,800 rpm power the machine. Two 12-cylinder MTU diesel engines with a 3,820 horsepower output at 1,800 rpm are another option for powering it.

11. The Caterpillar 6090 FS is also a huge piece of metal

Caterpillar huge excavator
Source: Caterpillar

Finally, but certainly not least, there is the Caterpillar 6090 FS. Generally speaking, this is one of the largest excavators in the world, with an operating weight of approximately 1,000 tons. It has two QSK60 engines, giving it a combined engine rating of 4500 horsepower. After Caterpillar purchased Bucyrus in 2011, its design was based on the Bucyrus RH400.

This massive machine’s enormous 52-cubic-meter bucket and 103-ton payload can fill a Caterpillar dumper truck in no more than four trips.

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