Electrical arcing occurred when a
high voltage/high current cross-country power line
contacted the boom of a CAT excavator. Current
flowed throughout the entire excavator in passing to the
ground. In fact, the current that passed through the CAT
excavator "crystallized" the ground around the
excavator. A view of the subject excavator at the
accident scene is shown in Photograph A.
High voltage power
line contacted the excavator boom.
Metallurgical evaluation of various
CAT excavator parts revealed that considerable arcing
damage occurred at component part joints and junctions.
Photograph B shows engine main bearing arcing damage.
Photograph B Main bearing arcing damage.
Photograph C shows external
electrical arcing damage to electrical conduit on the
Photograph C Arcing damage on electrical
After metallurgical analysis, it was
concluded that replacement of individual arc damage
parts would be more costly than merely replacing the
entire CAT excavator.
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