Wednesday, April 24, 2024

15 of the largest machines and vehicles you’ve ever seen

Mankind is pretty good at creating mammoth machines to do our bidding and to make our lives easier. Things you might see in everyday life can be supersized to be even more efficient.

Ginormous machines that take the skies, seas and more to undertake various tasks for a multitude of reasons. With the help of Surplex, we’re rounding up some of the biggest and best for you to marvel at.


Prelude FLNG – the largest gas platform

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Prelude FLNG is the world’s largest floating natural gas platform, constructed of more than 260,000 tonnes of steel and measuring 488 metres in length and 74 metres wide.

It was built by Royal Dutch Shell, KOGAS and Inpex in 2013 and is thought to have cost around $12.6 billion.

It’s in use around 120 miles off the coast of Australia where it drills for gas and will do so for at least a couple of decades. This monster machine is impressive when you compare it with other manmade objects on the ocean. For example, it displaces five times more water than the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers – the second-largest warships in the world.

Le Tourneau L-2350 – the biggest earthmover

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Le Tourneau L-2350 is another monster machine and one that photos cannot do justice.

This is, according to the Guinness World Records, the biggest earthmover ever built.

It can lift earth (and other things) to incredible heights and has a load capacity of around 80 tonnes – that’s something like 30 cars. Its tyres are gargantuan – standing at 13 feet tall and five feet wide. Its bucket is also massive – capable of holding the same as five standard dump trucks.

All this weight is powered by a 16-cylinder 65-litre diesel engine that puts out around 2,300 horsepower. That power needs some serious fuelling too – the tank on this beast holds nearly 4,000 litres of diesel. It’s massive in every possible way.


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The Crawler-transporter is essentially a massive mobile platform that is used for transporting NASA’s rocketships. This monster machine cost around $14 million to build and is the largest self-powered land vehicle on the planet.

It weighs 2,721 tonnes and runs on eight massive tracks, powered by 16 traction motors. The Crawler-transporter requires a team of nearly 30 engineers and technicians to run and are driven from two control cabs located at either end.

It’s fairly slow as vehicles go though, only able to move at around 2mph unladen. Still an impressive sight though.

Bagger 288 – the world’s second-heaviest land vehicle

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Raimond Spekking

Bagger 288 is one of the heaviest land vehicles in the world, weighing in at an impressive 13,500 tons.

It cost a whopping $100 million to build and was designed to remove overburden and help with the excavation of coal. It can manage around 240,000 tons of coal a day, which says something about how impressive a machine it is.

It has been superseded as the heaviest land vehicle by Bagger 293 (which weighs 14,200 tonnes) but is no less impressive.

The International Space Station

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Not all the enormous machines on this list are on Earth, some are in space.

This is the International Space Station, a massive scientific research station that was launched into a low Earth orbit in 1998.

It is a massive and impressive feat of engineering that’s been home to a multitude of astronauts over the decades since it was launched. As many as 236 people from 18 countries have visited the station since it was launched in 1998. It’s certainly one of our favourite massive machines.

BelAZ 75710 – the world’s largest haul truck

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We’ve seen massive vehicles that can dig and huge excavators, what about vehicles big enough to shift all that earth?

This is the world’s largest haul truck. An ultra-class truck that needs eight wheels to move and can carry 450 metric tonnes.

It’s driven by two MTU 65-litre 16-cylinder diesel engines but due to its weight, it only has a max speed of 40 mph. Still an impressive piece of machinery.

Komatsu D575A Superdozer

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The Komatsu D575A Superdozer is the largest bulldozer on the planet and has been in production since 1991.

This monster digger stands at 16 feet tall, 38 feet long and 24 feet wide. It boasts a 12-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine putting out 1,150 horsepower and is capable of shifting 96 cubic metres of material in a single pass.

Certainly one impressive earth-moving machine.

Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60

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Not impressed by the list so far? How about a massive bridge? The F60, also known as VEB TAKRAF, is the largest movable technical industrial machine in the world. Essentially it is an enormous conveyor belt that is used to transport overburden (waste) during coal mining.

The F60 is an impressive structure and also the longest manmade vehicle ever made. It’s also one of the heaviest – weighing in at 13,600 metric tons. There are five of these massive overburden bridges in existence and some are still in use today.

Bertha – the world’s largest tunnel boring machine

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Dennis Bratland

This is a model of Bertha, something that’s mostly underground so not easy to get a real photograph of.

It’s the world’s largest tunnel boring machine, that was made in Japan but used in Seattle to take part in the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project.

The tunnel was started in 2013 and set to craft a tunnel 2,830 metres long. Production had to stop various times over the years, due to different problems including a sinkhole opening-up in the machine’s path. It’s thought the project has cost a staggering $224 million.

Seawise Giant – the longest ship

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This is the ship of many names. It was originally known as the Seawise Giant, then Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, Knock Nevis and Mont. But one thing has stayed the same – it is the longest ship ever built despite being scrapped in 2010. It was constructed in 1979 and had an interesting life that included being temporarily sunk during the Iran-Iraq War.

The ship is also thought to be the largest and heaviest ship of any kind. It had a displacement of 657,019 tonnes and was so large it couldn’t navigate the English Channel, the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. To give you a size perspective, the Seawise Giant was longer than the Empire State Building is tall.

The Large Hadron Collider

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Maximilien Brice

The Large Hadron Collider is said to be the largest machine in the world.

It’s the biggest and most powerful particle collider ever built. It inhabits a tunnel that’s 17 miles long, beneath the France–Switzerland border.

This machine has been used to test different scientific theories of particle physics and to help assist in research into unsolved scientific questions and theories.

Over 10,000 scientists and 100 countries have been involved in the production and use of this machine in order to answer fundamental scientific questions and establish basic laws of different theories of particle physics.

Antonov An-225 Mriya – the largest plane

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Vikto Gadestedt/

This is the Antonov An-225 Mriya, a plane that was generally known to be the largest jet-engined aircraft in existence. Sadly it was destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It was a strategic airlift cargo plane that was able to take to the skies with a maximum weight of 640 metric tons.

This aeroplane also had the largest wingspan of any aircraft and despite its massive size, it could reach a top speed of around 530 miles per hour. It’s not only one of the largest machines ever built by man, but it’s also a modern marvel of technology, despite being quite old. It first took to the skies in 1988.

Taisun Crane

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The Taisun Crane is one of the largest cranes in the world. This monster crane holds the records for the heaviest lifts including lifting 20,133 metric tons.

It’s used to mount large parts on the top of huge vessels and makes a big difference to the safety, speed and efficiency of manufacturing new vessels.

Tradinno – the largest dragon

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This might not be a machine in the same sense as the others on this list but it is an impressive piece of machinery.

A massive fire-breathing animatronic dragon built by Zollner Elektronik AG. In 2014, Tradinno was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest walking robot.

It stands at eight metres tall and 15 metres long.

You can see it in action here.

Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope

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Jeff Dai (TWAN)

Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (aka FAST) is, as you might have gathered from the name, a 500m telescope dish located in Southwest China.

It’s the world’s largest filled-aperture radio telescope with 4,500 panels than can move in real-time. It has the ability to automatically adjust to receive signals from different directions.

An impressive feat of engineering it’s estimated to have cost around $180 million to build including the relocation costs of locals living in the area before construction.

It’s designed to hunt for potential radio signals from extraterrestrials in distant galaxies.


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