To clear large spaces fast, you need a LeTourneau L-2350. It’s  the world’s biggest wheel loader, and is more than 20m long.  The wheelbase alone is the length of two large executive  cars, and the bucket is so big it is nearly a metre wider than  the wheel loader truck itself. It is driven by a choice of  several diesel engines, depending on the type of material to  be excavated – it is highly fl exible but used mainly in coal  mining. The largest engine is 45 litres and puts out 2,300hp.

  Maximum speed is 17km/h (10.5mph), both forwards and  backwards; an AC-DC traction drive uses four traction motors  with infi nitely variable speed. Braking is electronic and the  L-2350 is steered by a joystick. Excavation operations use an  electrohydraulic hoist and bucket; the best-match truck  capacity is 400 tons and larger! As it operates in mines, all air  is fi ltered and supplied to the engine, drive system cooling  and also a pressurised cabin. Operators have a colour-coded  warning light system that alerts them to engine, hydraulic,  electrical and electronic problems.

  The operating payload is vast, up to 72,574kg in standard  form, and only slightly reduced at 68,039kg in high-light  form. As standard, it has a reach of 3.18m, with the high-lift  increasing this to 3.49m (and a total height of 13.89m).  These ‘worker ants’ are often seen on building sites –  but it’s not often you see one on this scale!  

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