The Krupp Bagger 288  is the largest bucket wheel excavator in the world today with the ability to remove  792,000 square feet of material every 24 hours. (33,000 square feet an hour).

Each of its eighteen buckets can hold 22 cubic feet of material, and these buckets can easily dig up five football pitches to 50 foot deep in a day.


The main chassis section is 140 wide and rests on three rows of caterpillar tracks that has four sets of tracks in each set. Each track plate is over 13 feet wide.

The turning radius of this machine is over 300 feet, so it needs a lot of space to operate cast mines are usually quite suitable though!

It is also the worlds biggest vehicle because it can drive along on caterpillar tracks under its own power.

This is pre-requisite for this machine though as it has to dig overburden in open cast mines similar to any other digger.  If she was static then she would need to be rebuilt every day in a new position.


The picture below shows the excavator operating in the German Hambach open pit mine of Rheinbraun AG. You can just about make out two people standing in the foreground!

The Krupp Bagger 288 always has to be photographed at a great distances away from it to enable capturing all of it in view...people then disappear due its size.


The pictures below show the excavator moving towards another mine. A special roadway had to be constructed so that it could travel across motorways, countryside and even golf courses! It would be impossible for it to drive down a road, even an eight or ten lane motorway would not be wide enough.

This cross-country trip cost the European mine 7.7 million Euro's. It was in fact a great money saving by moving the vehicle this way rather than dis-assembling it and then re-building it at the other end.

Had they gone for the other option then the cost would have easily escalated over 10 million Euros, plus the time factor would have meant the bagger was out of operation for several weeks if not months.  This would have cost the mine further millions in lost revenue.

It was a logistical juggling act that had to be played out as best as possible for the mines best advantage...and it was.


Giant bucket wheel excavators are the largest mining vehicles on earth. The technical giants from Krupp are custom designed and built for the specific operating conditions and the production rates for each open pit mine that they work in.

Digging heights of as much as one hundred meters, which is carried out effortlessly on its huge out-stretched booms.

The excavator weighs in at 13,500 tons, and travels along at just over half  a kph. Two huge electric motors give a combined power output of 22,500 brake horse power and this makes it the worlds biggest excavator to move under its own power, a true feat of human engineering.


The power of massive machines such as this should never be underestimated as the pictures below testify. The excavator accidentally and quite easily picked up a big heavy bulldozer and tossed it onto its boom as if the dozer was a kids toy.

Had the operator of the Bagger not been told via radio of this accident then he would hardly have noticed.  As it happened, the function of the bagger was not disrupted, it could have chewed the dozer up and spat it out quite effortlessly.

The excavator wasn't damaged but I suspect that the bulldozer was a little bit dented and buckled.  Luckily the driver of the bulldozer wasn't harmed, as he managed to jump clear.  This just goes to show how dangerous environments with big machines operating in them can be.


Page created July 23rd 2005.     Updated October 30th 2012.