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5 Of The World's Most Powerful Tools

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Some very impressive inventions are shaping the world around us, yet we seem to take them for granted. Here are five of the world's most powerful tools to consider.

Deep drilling rigs

Mobile rigs can reach depths of 800 feet and consume 150 gallons of fuel per day. But there are over 3400 stationary deep water drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico alone reaching depths over 150 meters. Many rigs routinely operate at depths of over 6,500 feet, and some reach depths of over two miles beneath the surface.

Excavator

Excavators are those huge machines that dig massive holes in the earth to extract minerals, coal, and other raw materials. Heavy-duty hydraulic excavators can be immense. The largest commercial model made by US equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, the CAT 6090, weights over 1,000 tons, and has a 4,500 horsepower engine with a bucket capacity up to 68 cubic yards.

Jet engines

The altitude limit for jets with combustion engines is limited by the low oxygen content of the upper atmosphere. Yet modern jet design and materials allow us to reach altitudes of 45 miles and speeds up to Mach 8. A Mach is the speed of sound (767 mph). More futuristic designs on the drawing board may be capable of reaching over 11,500 mph.

Tunnel boring machine

Also called TBMs, or "moles", these are the crawling machines used to excavate tunnels beneath the earth, often through solid rock. While there are smaller versions, some units designed for creating traffic tunnel bore diameters of over 63 feet. The largest in operation is used by the Italian company Toto SPA Costruzioni Generali. Over 425 feet, it weighs 4,500 tons and consumes about 169,750 kilowatts of electricity per day.

Super dozer

Consider that the world's largest bulldozer is the Japanese Komatsu D575A, known as the Super Dozer. With its 1,150 horsepower engine and massive size (165 tons), it's capable of removing 125 cubic yards of earth at one pass, and with its shank ripper blade can dig to a depth of nearly 7 feet on each run.

Of course none of that would be possible without high-tech engineering labs pushing technology forward on a constant basis. Power testing processes, such as those preformed at Power Test Inc., and tools like the dynamometers, for accurately measuring the torque on a system, continue to push machine design to its limits. This has led to some amazing machines and technical innovations that continue to inspire us.