Luminant's Winfield South Mine is taking a starring role in an episode of the new Discovery Channel series “What a Tool.”
The series, which begins Wednesday, April 14, profiles massive machines across the country, including the mine's cross pit spreader system, which stands as tall as a 24-story building, is as long as roughly four football fields and weighs as much as 10 747 commercial airplanes.
“I think viewers are going to be truly amazed at the size of the machinery used to mine lignite for power generation,” said Del McCabe, mine director. “It's an efficient and impressive operation and one we're proud to showcase.”
The mine hosted a production crew for two full days last June. The team spoke with McCabe and operators Randy Green and James Gee to learn the ins and outs of the system, which consists of two machines: the cross pit spreader and bucket wheel excavator. The bucket wheel excavator works like a Ferris wheel, using a series of buckets to remove dirt over deep-set coal in advance of the mine's draglines. The excavator then drops the dirt on the cross pit spreader's conveyor system to be moved across the mine for use in reclamation.
“The system has the ability to move 20 million cubic yards per year, with a discharge belt that carries dirt at 1,500 feet per minute,” added McCabe. “It takes about one minute for earth to move throughout the entire system. Needless to say, it's an extremely valuable tool in our mining operation.”
The show is scheduled to run April 14 at 9 p.m. and midnight CDT on the Discovery Channel. To get a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot, just click here to visit Luminant's YouTube channel. We've also posted a gallery with exclusive photos from the shoot on our Facebook page.