THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY roboticises the operation of THUNDERBOLT Hammers to vastly improve knock-in speed and safety – consistently, repeatably, sustainably.

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Built on 35+ years of manufacturing experience in mining, THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY is the industry's only robotic suspension, guidance and firing system. The mining industry's only robotic suspension, guidance and firing solution delivering fast, reliable and safe relines the first time, every time. SKYWAY delivers a step-change in worn liner knock-in predictability, speed and crew safety outcomes. Remove crew from the line of fire. Achieve fastest-ever reline time with THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY.


  • Safety – removes crew from danger zones such as working near suspended loads during knock-in of liner bolts
  • Speed and productivity – automated movement of liner removal tools accelerates worn liner removal activities reducing knock-in duration
  • Consistency – automation provides 100% accuracy through robotic hammer-to-bolt alignment, pre-loading and movement between bolts
  • Predictability – eliminates human error
  • Availability – enables faster, safer relines providing greater mill availability, increasing productivity and reducing shut down times
  • Custom-made – engineered to order based on the Customers' specific mill requirements
  • Compliant – engineered to meet Australian and international engineering standards
  • State-of-the-art – designed and built to superior RME standards


  • Custom-made, multi-axis gantry system constructed around the exterior of the grinding mill
  • Safety excellence achieved utilising emergency stops, alarms, access ladders, mobile platform gates, guard rails and counter balance valves 
  • Ease of operation with hydraulic control of THUNDERBOLT Recoilless Hammers for ultimate speed and accuracy
  • Ergonomically-designed remote joystick control pendants offering mobile control of SKYWAY's mast, carriage, hammer and mobile platforms as well as combination hammer / elevating platform modules
  • Touchscreen technology for on-the-spot / instant statistics around machine operations and performance
  • Extendable, high-reach ability for hammer operation ensuring consistent liner bolt removal speed
  • Five-axis THUNDERBOLT Recoilless Hammer motion
  • Load capacity range of 400 - 800kg to ensure equal performance across the entire relining process
  • Hammers have integrated cooling to increase operational duty cycle
  • Platforms provide convenient tooling and fastener storage to keep platform floor clear
  • Platforms accommodate for oiled air for relining tools and water for removing debris
  • Platforms include relining tool jibs to reduce reliner fatigue
  • THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY is intended for use as a purpose-built semi-automated suspension and guidance system for THUNDERBOLT Recoilless Hammers and RUSSELL Elevating Platform modules – solutions which accelerate worn liner removal activities and improve crew safety.
  • SKYWAY will be favoured by progressive mine sites with larger capacity mills and potential mine life longevity. It demonstrates compelling safety benefits for high-altitude mine sites due to the personnel fatigue management advantages they afford.
  • SKYWAY is particularly well-suited to greenfield projects where plant design for effective whole-of-life maintenance and cost efficiencies can be achieved. RME offers MILL RELINE DIRECTOR (MRD) Plant Design studies to support these applications, ensuring that any constraints to efficient mill maintenance are eliminated from the outset.
  • THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY’s automation capabilities facilitate significant reductions in the time required to knock-in bolts and liners compared to conventional methods. Detailed MILL RELINE DIRECTOR (MRD) studies on SAG mill relines using THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY have demonstrated that bolt knock-in can be performed significantly faster, and save many reline hours compared to conventional methods.
  • Moreover, in addition to increasing bolt knock-in speed, THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY improves liner bolt removal consistency. Even skilled human operators have a high degree of variability across individual reline activities. This variability contributes to unpredictability. SKYWAY overcomes these problems by leveraging cutting-edge automated technology to create efficient and optimal travel paths for the hammer as it moves from bolt-to-bolt. MRD modelling indicates that the standard deviation for the automated knock-in is nearly half the equivalent value compared to conventional methods.
  • MILL RELINE DIRECTOR Safety (MRDS) studies have also proven beyond doubt that THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY will dramatically reduce relative person-hour exposure to risk by over 40%. How? SKYWAY eliminates the need to manually handle and manoeuvre liner removal tools around the mill deck where personnel are exposed to hazards such as suspended loads, slips, trips and falls. Instead, an operator pilots the liner removal tool using a sophisticated remote control from the safety of an operator pod.

RME is the world’s leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of mill relining systems.


RUSSELL MRMs engineered, manufactured and delivered.


THUNDERBOLT Recoiless Hammers sold.


Mine sites served by RME equipment & services.

"There's an industry adage that says if the mill isn't turning, the plant isn't earning - a fact that keeps the attention squarely on mill availability. THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY drastically reduces mill relining duration which in turn, improves overall productivity."

Dr. John Russell
Founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Engineer, RUSSELL MINERAL EQUIPMENT
John Russell and Peter Rubie with THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY Semi-Automated Liner Bolt Knock-In Solution

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