Tech Firms: System Allows Wireless Calls Inside Mines

Three technology companies that worked together to produce a wireless communications system for coal miners are touting the system as a breakthrough in coal mine safety.

The companies – the Rajant Corp., Sanmina-SCI and Hannah Engineering – said that they have produced a communications system that has allowed them to make the first wireless phone call from 1,000 feet inside a coal mine.

"Safety within mines relies on having the most current communication solutions," said Bob Schena, chairman of the Rajant Corp. "The combined solution from Rajant, Hannah Engineering, and Sanmina-SCI offers a breakthrough in how miners can communicate, and be tracked, within a mine. This solution will go a long way to make sure our mines will be safe for our workers."

The system will be deployed as Hannah Engineering's Wireless Integrated Technology System (WITS), which, according to the three companies, "provides a complete end-to-end solution for improved communications within coal mines."

"The WITS system utilizes the networking capabilities of Rajant and Sanmina-SCI to offer wireless communications and personnel tracking from within the mine by connecting a host of disparate communication devices," the companies explained in a news release.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) facility near Pittsburgh lent a former coal mine now used for research and testing purposes to the three companies to test the jointly developed system.

A NIOSH spokesperson told that the agency was not involved in the project and that it opens up its Pittsburgh facility to companies that wish to test their equipment.

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