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Modern LeTourneau Earthmoving Equipment: Ultra-large Loaders, Dozers and Haulers since 1968    by Eric C. Orlemann order for
Modern LeTourneau Earthmoving Equipment
by Eric C. Orlemann
Order:  USA  Can
Iconografix, 2013 (2013)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

In a sense, this might be considered a picture book for adults. Although there's plenty of text, the average reader may prefer to skim the technical material and just focus on the page upon page of color photos of some of the world's largest heavy equipment.

Those in fields like mining or involved in huge construction projects where the use of extremely large equipment is commonplace will immediately recognize the name of Le Tourneau. The company has built an international reputation on designing and constructing ultra-large, technically advanced, earthmoving equipment used in quarry and mining operations around the globe.

R. G. Le Tourneau was incorporated in California in 1929. As the firm grew and developed various lines of ultra-large equipment, it underwent various changes in ownership and today it is under the Joy Global umbrella of companies.

This book isn't about the ins and outs of the corporate structure and all the changes that occurred but rather about some of the signature pieces of equipment this company has produced. From the record breaking L-2350 wheel loader (the largest ever manufactured) to the Titan hauler line of huge trucks, this story is one of producing even larger and more efficient pieces of equipment.

It begins with the early diesel-electric drive wheel loaders rated at 40 tons capacity and traces the development of the loaders up to the 1990s and the L-1800 with a payload capacity 100,000 pounds (50 tons). As larger 320 to 400-ton capacity haulers came on line, even larger loaders were deemed necessary.

The L-2350 was originally built in 2000 and was the second 50 series loader produced by LeTourneau. Unveiled at the MINExpo in Las Vegas in October the loader drew huge crowds and was a stand-out of the show.
Obviously, the world's largest loader needed the world's largest tires. Firestone created the mammoth tires that cost $125,000 each. Each tire, when mounted, was 13 feet tall and weighed 14,740 pounds.

A photo of one of the loading buckets made for the machine dwarfed a worker standing inside it. The giant bucket was capable of handling a massive 160,000-pound (80-ton) payload. Usually, though, the loader, depending on where it is being employed, uses a smaller bucket with a 60 or 70- ton payload.

As you page through the book, take note of the conventional pick-up trucks and humans pictured next to these huge machines. That puts everything into perspective! Since most of us cannot access the mining sites where this equipment is being used, this is about as close as we'll come to seeing it. If you are interested in machines that work these sites, this is a book you'll want to own.

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