The mining industry has developed and evolved over time to ensure the best machinery and processes for excavation are considered. Heavy-duty machinery used for excavation in a mining site is called a dragline excavator. This equipment is designed to easily and effectively dismantle and transport materials in an open-pit operation and, therefore, is an important aspect of managing a mining site. Without a proper functioning dragline excavator, it can hinder progress and even stall development for mining construction. Dragline excavator uses are key to keep job sites running.
American Mine Services (AMS) provides evaluations, design, and construction of mines and excavations. For information on our mining services contact us directly.
What Are Draglines Excavators?
As far as heavy-duty machinery, a dragline excavator is among the world’s largest. They are not only massive, but also provide mining construction operations the ability to be highly productive by offering a way to streamline hauling and excavation of large areas. Most dragline excavators have an operational life span of 40 years, and (pound for pound), they are the most productive and versatile machines in the mining industry.
Dragline Excavator Uses & How They Work
Draglines don’t differ that much from the functionality of cranes. The application of dragline is slightly different in what it can effectively pick up, measured by units like undercarriage and counterweight. In general, lift cranes usually have more counterweight than draglines, meaning they’re designed to lift heavier materials. A dragline excavator can still lift incredibly heavy materials.
Dragline excavator uses can be somewhat diverse. As a piece of heavy equipment, a dragline excavator is used in civil engineering and surface mining.
Draglines fall into two broad categories: those that are based on standard, lifting cranes, and the heavy units which have to be built on-site. Most crawler cranes, with an added winch drum on the front, can act as a dragline. These units–like other cranes–are designed to be dismantled and transported over the road on flatbed trailers. Draglines used in civil engineering are almost always of this smaller, crane type. These are used for projects such as:
- Port construction
- Pond and canal dredging
- Pile driving rigs
Equipment built onsite is usually used for other projects like strip-mining, to help remove overburden above coal and oil sands mining–which requires a large amount of Earth to be removed suitable for equipment like dragline excavators.
Size of Dragline Excavators
The largest heavy draglines are among the largest mobile land machines ever built. The smallest and most common of the heavy type weighed around 8,000 tons while the largest built weighed around 13,000 tons. Find out more about the largest draglines in the world.
A dragline bucket system consists of a large bucket which is suspended from a boom (a large truss-like structure) with wire ropes. The bucket is maneuvered by means of a number of ropes and chains. The hoist rope, powered by large diesel or electric motors, supports the bucket and hoist-coupler assembly from the boom. The dragrope is used to draw the bucket assembly horizontally. By skillful maneuver of the hoist and the dragropes the bucket is controlled for various operations.
Two Major Categories Of A Dragline Excavator
Dragline uses usually focus exclusively on mining operations. Due to its ability to streamline excavation, the mining industry largely benefits from this machinery and technology. The overburden removed from open pit mining sites is either repurposed or set aside to fill the open pit areas after operations have been exhausted. There are two major categories that dragline excavators fall under:
1. Standard Lift Crane
Dragline excavator uses that operate as a standard lifting crane are built offsite and transported to the mine. They are able to be dismantled and reassembled. Within civil engineering, standard lift cranes with winch drums can be used to build bridges, ports, and roads.
2. Built Onsite
For larger mining operations like coal and oil sands strip mining, heavier equipment is often required. Dragline excavator uses for these operations often require them to be built onsite. Because they would be too expensive to transport, they stay in place at a mining site for decades.
How Draglines Operate
In an excavation cycle, a dragline bucket is dragged to remove material. The dragrope helps to control the bucket and remove surface debris. The bucket is then lifted by using a hoist rope. The swing rope is then used to move the bucket to dump the material. On smaller draglines, an operator might make a bucket land about one-half the length of a jib. On larger draglines, only a few meters.
Dragline Uses: Limitations
Major limitations of dragline excavators is the boom height and boom length, which limits where the dragline can effectively dump waste material. The equipment is also not ideal of dig depth, limited by the length of the rope associated with the machinery. The primary function, or dragline excavator uses focuses on construction and excavating material below the level of the base. A rope shovel is typically more effective in loading piled up material.
However, despite limitations for dragline excavators and their high operational costs, draglines are still an ideal equipment for most mining operations due to their reliability and extremely low waste removal cost.
American Mine Services
New and innovative technological solutions in the mining industry are changing the way that the mining industry operates and, more importantly, the impact it has on surrounding environments. At AMS, we provide mining technology services that use modern mining methodology and techniques to create viable solutions for most mining operations. This can be anything from improving ground support to creating innovative solutions to mining rehabilitation. All of which serve to reduce the impact of mining on the environment and work to reconcile the effects of mining.
At American Mine Services (AMS), we consider making improvements for all mining sites. Contact us today to learn more about what we provide.