The partnership agreement was the result of three months of discussion between the two, Rajant marketing vice-president Glenn Booth told International Longwall News.
“Since Carlson creates the application and Rajant creates the network infrastructure, it makes technical and ‘solution’ sense to work together,” he said, adding that while Carlson previously worked with other mesh network producers this opportunity with BreadCrumbs was the first it felt had the agility and ruggedness needed for the mining environment.
“Rajant can provide the agility because our technology does not use what is called a root node,” Booth explained.
“Most other wireless mesh providers have a main or root node that controls other nodes [and] this hierarchy creates single points of failure, as well as delays. In an underground mine, you can not have a single point of failure.”
The producer said that it will combine its product with Carlson’s comprehensive software applications on its BreadCrumb wireless mesh networks. The decision, Booth added, serves as a “strategic partnership” for both to be able to bring the two together and offer mines a solution that is reliable and brings greater productivity.
Rajant senior vice-president Gary Anderson added: "This is a strategic step for Rajant as we continue to expand our global mining division and we look forward to working with the Carlson team.”
Booth said the partnership will bring benefits to Rajant through its domestic and international exposure, as Carlson currently has more than 30 offices and hundreds of worldwide distributors and dealers.
“They are a major supplier to the top mines worldwide and have world-class support,” he noted.
“Our partnership will provide for a tighter integration for the mine operator.”
Carlson Software president Bruce Carlson said Rajant’s wireless mesh technology offered an easy-to-set-up, self-healing, portable network ideal for its construction and mining customers.
“Rajant's reliable network is key for implementing remote monitoring, productivity analysis, digital updating of change orders, and other applications offered by Carlson's Command and Control," he said.
As of now, the standard BreadCrumb unit will still be used with future systems sold as part of the relationship, but Booth said if Carlson opts to OEM the device (an idea currently under discussion) some small modifications may be made to its look and feel.
Booth added Carlson will have the ability to market, sell and offer first-line support for the system through the partnership as the two companies look at a research and development path together.
“Rajant currently supports GPS functionality integrated into some BreadCrumb models," he added of the two companies’ plans.
“As we move forward with Carlson, we will be interested in expanding the role of GPS functionally in a wireless mesh network.”
The biggest benefit of the move to the underground coal mining sector is that mines will be able to have the “one-stop shopping” experience that most prefer when looking at communication solutions.
The partnership between Rajant and Carlson will remove many of the potential integration and compatibility issues that could be seen by operations, Booth said.
“There is strong interest from the coal mining industry to have suppliers work more closely together, especially in the areas of improved safety and production through communications enhancements,” he said.