How do you take down a huge wall? One way, is to line up a few excavators and give it a good push. The wall here is the last standing section of a mall in Georgia that was demolished to make room for a new Wal-Mart. It looks to be about 40 feet high and 100 feet across. It also has a thick, sturdy concrete construction, which means that it’s going to take some serious force to push it over. Are 4 crawler excavators enough to do the trick? Before we find out, let’s take a look at the building demolition process and the capabilities of these 4 machines working together.
The Key Role of Excavators in Demolition
As long as buildings have been built, there has been a need for them to be demolished as well. Hydraulic excavators typically play a large role in manual building demolition. A demolition usually begins with excavators “undermining” the building while controlling how it falls. Of course, this requires taking safety and cleanup considerations into account as well. For taller buildings, high-reach excavators are used when demolition by explosives isn’t safe or practical. When equipped with sheer attachments, excavators are able to dismantle the individual elements of a steel structure. Along with excavators, other key equipment typically involved in building demolition includes cranes with wrecking balls and loaders or bulldozers.
Key Crawler Excavator Dimensions and Specs
Much of the major work for this particular demolition has been done, and we are now looking at 4 crawler excavators trying to finish the job with the remaining wall. Each of the excavators is probably in the 30- to 40-ton category. Excavators such as the Doosan 300 would fit into this category. As an example, the Doosan 300 LC-5 has:
- An operating weight of 68,764 pounds
- A total length of nearly 35 feet (with arm not extended)
- A boom length of 20 feet, 6 inches
- An arm length of 12 feet, 4 inches
- A max digging height of 35 feet, 5 inches
So in total, you are probably looking at close to 300,000 pounds of machinery butting up against the wall. I’m guessing you’re more curious about these performance specs than the dimensions though:
- 940 lb.-ft. max torque
- 268 net horsepower
- 44,092 lb.-ft. bucket digging force
- 4,978 psi max system pressure
Times those numbers by 4 and you have nearly 4,000 lb.-ft. of max torque, over 1,000 horsepower, and a bucket digging force of close to 200,000 lb.-ft. All of that force and power will be pushing against this huge wall to try to get it to fall down.
More Like 3 and a Half Excavators
You will probably notice, however, that one of the 4 excavators are not like the others. Instead of a bucket, it’s equipped with a claw, or grapple, attachment, and it looks like it’s basically just there to prevent the wall from falling the wrong way. Grapples are handy in building demolition because they can pick up and move around long and more awkwardly shaped items much easier than a bucket can. They obviously aren’t as adept at pushing a wall over.
Protecting Operators from Debris and Dust
It’s amazing how much debris and dust go into the air and fall in building demolitions. There’s also a danger of falling pieces of concrete and other materials landing on an excavator during a demolition. That’s why most excavators used for demolition have enclosed and reinforced cabins with internal air systems to protect against falling debris and keep the dust out. Manufacturers also design the cabins to be enclosed and protected without limiting visibility, as sightlines are critical for excavator operators.
The Big Push
Considering the estimated capabilities of these 4 excavators, I would guess that this wall will go down in a short amount of time. The question is, how much of it will go down after this big push? Anything to the left of the last excavator probably won’t be coming down and will have to be pushed down after. They will also still have the base walls of this section of the mall to contend with after this upper wall goes down, so there was definitely a lot more work ahead when you consider that as well as the cleanup. Check out what these 4 machines are able to do and leave your comment below.
Sources: (1 | 2)