RME’s SKYWAY takes relining process outside of the mill at Cobre Panama

Russell Mineral Equipment says it has released world-first technology that is expected to drastically reduce risk by relocating the mill relining activity from inside the confined space grinding mill environment to a highly accessible, safer area outside the mill.

The semi-automated THUNDERBOLT Hammer guidance and suspension system, known as SKYWAY, has been in development by RME engineers since 2016, with the world’s first application now being commissioned at First Quantum Minerals’ Cobre Panama copper-gold mine, in Panama.

INSIDEOUT Technology is the name given to a suite of advanced technology processes which complement SKYWAY and facilitate relining to be performed from outside the grinding mill, the company said.

RME’s Managing Director, John Russell, during a tour of the operation in October, said: “Cobre Panama’s advanced relining technology suite means that ‘the future is now’.

“FQML are leading the world by recognising that by performing relining from outside the mill, they remove the risks for personnel typically surrounded by suspended loads during traditional relining activities. They’re partnering with us in this change and doing something that really shifts the dial firstly for their people and also for their profits.”

Russell added: “The safety of relining crews around the world has always been RME’s greatest motivator, and INSIDEOUT Technology with THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY also introduces new production efficiencies.”

THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY represents the fastest and safest method ever devised for the removal of mill liner bolts and worn liners, according to RME Executive Director, Peter Rubie.

“Following a comprehensive testing regime at RME’s testing and training facility, we’re excited to see the first use of this new system in action over the coming month,” he said of the reline in Panama in November.

THUNDERBOLT SKYWAY is a purpose-built structure external to the grinding mill that supports and positions THUNDERBOLT Recoilless Hammers and operator work platforms. The SKYWAY system features precise hydraulic control of these hammers, allowing for faster movement between bolts and faster alignment, along with increased Hammer preloading compared with conventional methods, the company said.

Relining external to the mill can be achieved independently of SKYWAY investment by using INSIDEOUT Technology, and RME has developed a staged INSIDEOUT Technology implementation which allows sites to access reline-by-reline safety uplift.

Photo: (from left) Customer Support Technician, Daniel Fernandez, Managing Director, John Russell, and Customer Support Technician, Luis Sanchez