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Syncrude...bucketwheels and draglines by Dave Belcher

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Dave Belcher Dave Belcher
Explore score
1.24 Gigapixels
Date added
Jun 29, 2010
Date taken
Jun 27, 2010

The #4 bucketwheel reclaimer and the #2 Discovery Bucyrus-Erie dragline at the Syncrude display near Fort McMurray, Alberta's oil sands operations.


Bucketwheel No.4 operated with Discovery until until the dragline's retirement in July 1999. The bucketwheel reclaimed the windrows of oil sand created by the dragline and transferred the oil sand along a conveyor system "bridge deck" which ran across the top of the unit to the ground conveyor. The bucketwheel used more than nine tons of oil and grease and had over ten tons of paint on it.

Length 140 meters /560 feet
Bucket size: 24 buckets of 1.38 cubic meters (1.8 cubic yards each)
Bucket discharge: 54 buckets per minute (7263 cubic meters/hour)
Wheel boom conveyor belt speed four meters per second
Horsepower 12,000
Bridge conveyor belt speed four meters per second
Operating weight 2400 tons
Replacement value $34 million

The dragline weighs in at around 6000 tons and has a bucket of around 85 cubic yards. Replacement value today would be more than $130 million. Bucyrus makes the worlds biggest draglines, the 8750 which weighs in around 8000 tons with a bucket of 160 cubic meters.

For extraction of the oilsands today, they use a combination of heavy trucks (Cat 797B) and power shovels. The conveyor system was the weak link in the previous arrangement. If it went down, the whole system ground to a halt.

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitcher version 0.4.5131 (Macintosh)
Panorama size: 77 megapixels (20470 x 3782 pixels)
Input images: 495 (45 columns by 11 rows)
Field of view: 213.4 degrees wide by 39.4 degrees high (top=33.5, bottom=-6.0)
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera make: Panasonic
Camera model: DMC-FZ50
Image size: 3648x2736 (10.0 megapixels)
Capture time: 2010-06-27 12:12:50 - 2010-06-27 12:38:02
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure time: 0.004
ISO: 100
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 202.0 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Fixed
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 44.6 to 62.5 percent
Vertical overlap: 48.7 to 66.1 percent
Computer stats: 2048 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 3:34:09 (0:25 per picture)
Alignment: 2:07:28, Projection: 4:13, Blending: 1:22:27

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