Nearly 60 self-propelled modular transporters, trailers powered by up to nine 600-horsepower engines, were used to move the draglines — the smallest weighing 6 million lb and the two largest weighing 13 million lb each. This engineering achievement was no small feat, according to Steve Kopenitz, Luminant senior vice president of mining.
“It usually takes several years to disassemble and rebuild a single dragline, or months of planning and preparation to ‘walk’ them to new mining sites. With our longest move spanning 15 miles, we needed to find a way to safely, efficiently and cost-effectively transport the draglines,” Kopenitz said. “Thanks to the ingenuity of our employees, we shortened the relocation process to just a few weeks per dragline using the interconnected trailers. The success of this industry-changing method represents our employees’ commitment to innovation and to safely and reliably powering Texas.”
The largest of these draglines is roughly the size of a small high school gym, with a boom up to 330 ft long — about the length of a football field — and weighing as much as 200 train cars. As critical components of a mine, the draglines help remove the overburden, or the rock and soil above the lignite, and eventually return the soil through significant post-mining reclamation efforts.
“Projects like this require extensive preparations and careful attention to details. Our team coordinated logistics for everything from crossing pipelines and closing and crossing county roads to building new roadways and lowering and disconnecting power lines,” said Brad Gadt, Luminant heavy equipment relocations manager. “With literally thousands of moving parts to manage, including the machine size, transport distance, scheduling and weather changes, our employees consistently kept their focus on safety from start to finish.”