Lignite mining operations are critical to the economy in Greece. Also called "brown coal," lignite power plants produce over 50 percent of the electricity consumed in Greece, more than 25 percent of the electricity consumed in Germany and they also are a crucial source of power in other European countries. Maintaining the efficient flow of lignite from mines to power plants in several regions of Greece and FYRO Macedonia is crucial, requiring world-class equipment that can handle special functions and work reliably in spite of very arduous working conditions.
The process of moving lignite from open cast mines to collection points, and then into power stations, is totally dependent on the use of nearly 200 miles of conveyor belting systems. Since 2002, Gradall excavators have been the primary tools used to keep the lines well maintained and free of debris that adheres to the belt and then falls off and collects beneath the lower rollers of the conveyor. Nearly 30 Gradall excavators each are equipped with a paddle bucket that was specially designed and manufactured by Gradall. The steel buckets are 8 feet (2.4 m) long and 3 feet (900 mm) wide with a 7-inch (17 cm) edge on each side. Using the Gradall boom's power and tilting/telescoping action, the operator is able to extend the paddle bucket in a straight cut under the conveyors to remove lignite debris - a function that is not possible with a conventional excavator and its arc-like boom action. Powerful XL 4000 and XL 3000 Gradall models are both used for the process. Models with crawler undercarriages work on rough terrain and in soft ground often covering the tracks. Rough terrain wheeled models provide the efficient mobility to move up and down the conveyor lines to critical areas as needed. The mining operation has to continue around the clock, seven days a week, and the Gradall excavators have shown excellent reliability during their extended usage. During one six-year period, some of the Gradalls have operated over 18,000 hours - solid evidence of their rugged durability and productivity.
For more information about Gradall excavators call (800) 445-4752.