Peabody Energy’s 8-million-lb dragline completed a historic journey from the company’s Lee Ranch mine northwest of Grants, New Mexico, more than 20 miles to its new home at the El Segundo mine. One of the world’s most massive machines, the 1570-W dragline crossed the high desert, carried by a specialized 600-wheel vehicle. NASA uses a similar transportation method to haul space shuttles.

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Peabody Energy elected to use a carrier with 150 axles to move the 8-million-lb machine.

Transporting a machine of this size required precision and planning, said Brad Brown, Peabody Energy senior vice president of southwest operations. “This was certainly a road trip to remember. These machines are the size of a ship on dry land. They can walk, but typically very slowly, with the help of electric generators. This time, Peabody used a different, more efficient method involving a carrier. We owe a huge amount of thanks to all team members who made this engineering accomplishment possible.”

The 1570-W dragline swings an 85-y3 bucket on a 320-ft boom. Draglines traditionally move to new areas by “walking” about one-tenth of a mile in an hour using shoes that lift and advance the machine. This requires generators, and road and power line construction support 24 hours a day for a month or more. 

Peabody adopted a new dragline transportation method that abbreviated the move and eliminated the need for electric power. Working with heavy-equipment manufacturer Joy Global, Peabody loaded the massive machine on a specialized carrier assembled by Mammoet USA South Inc., which specializes in solutions for heavy-lifting transportation. The carrier featured 150 axle lines, each consisting of four heavy-duty truck tires coupled together to form a self-propelled transport vehicle. The assembly moved at speeds of up to two miles per hour, enabling the dragline to reach the El Segundo mine in 12 days. One of the most productive mines in the southwestern U.S., El Segundo shipped 8.4 million tons of coal in 2012. 

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