Mining & Metals
DROPPING OFF A 3,500-TON DRAGLINE ACROSS THE DESERT.
Peabody Energy needed to move a 3,500-ton dragline over a distance of 22 miles through the New Mexican desert to their El Segundo Mine. Though the dragline was designed to ‘walk’ at a maximum speed of one-tenth of a mile per hour it would take the machine over a month to reach its destination. In order to speed up the journey, Mammoet loaded the dragline onto SPMTs and carried it through the desert. Delivering the dragline in just 12 days, Mammoet reduced travel time by as much as 60%, while eliminating the need for expensive power generators in the process.
Never before had a machine of this weight been transported over such a long distance. And as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge already, the road to the mine was no walk in the proverbial park either. A width restriction due to an archaeological excavation site along the way meant Mammoet had to use a longer SPMT train than was desirable. Several 7% inclines created some more hurdles and while the transport was scheduled outside of New Mexico’s rainy season, heavy rain and even snow made the going extra tough.
Mammoet mobilized a total of 150 SPMT lines in a 5-train wide by 30-train long configuration. Because of the width restrictions, the SPMT train could not be made as wide as to provide an optimally stable platform for the heavy load. To pre-empt possible deflection issues, Mammoet installed load spreaders on each trailer to ensure the dragline’s weight was divided evenly over the SPMTs.
In order to overcome the steep incline, extra pulling power was brought in by placing scrapers in front of the transport. And when rain and snow weakened the road, Mammoet reinforced it with steel plates to provide an underground strong enough to carry the transport with a total weight of 4,400 tons safely to its destination.
Transporting the dragline instead of letting it transport itself, reduced travel time by 18 days. This meant Peabody Energy could start using the dragline much sooner. Furthermore, the chosen approach removed the need for expensive power generators and 24/7 road and power line construction support for at least a month as well as widening the road to 120 ft instead of 60 ft. By carrying the dragline across the desert, Mammoet saved Peabody triple the time and double the money.