Chinese Coal Company Deploys Firetide Wireless Communications

Firetide, a provider of wireless infrastructure mesh networks, announced that the Jincheng Coal Company has deployed a Firetide wireless mesh network to deliver a real-time, mobile, multiservice system that provides the real-time communications needed to ensure the safety and increased efficiency of its private railroad. Owned by Jin Mei Group, the second largest charcoal company in China, Jincheng Coal Company that is located in Jincheng City, ShanXi Province of China. The Jincheng Coal Company's railroad spans 35-kilometer of track, with the trains used exclusively for transporting workers and coal to and from the company's central station located midpoint between the two mining sites.

The railway's setup presents safety coordination problems because at times its two tracks merge into one. Prior to deploying a Firetide wireless mesh network for VoIP and Wi-Fi, the train conductors used 800 MHz walkie-talkies that often failed due to dropped signals creating the danger of possible collisions on the single track. The railroad used hard copies of train schedules, which could not be updated on the fly. With the Firetide network, schedules can be updated as often as necessary to increase both efficiency and safety.

“Our train conductors now use Wi-Fi phones to communicate in real time with each other to make sure we avoid accidents,” said Yang Hai Jun, IT Manager of Jincheng Company. “The Firetide mesh delivers clear voice and data communications without drops or delays. This system improves safety for our employees and increases efficiency of our operations.”

Forty Firetide outdoor mesh nodes were placed along the track, about two miles apart. Providing power to the nodes proved challenging at four remote sites. The railroad used solar panels to power these nodes. “Installing the Firetide network was fast and easy. Hooking up the power and installing the poles to place the mesh nodes took most our time,” said Yang, PM for HollySys, the system integrator on the project. “The system works flawlessly and only took four months to complete.”

Jincheng has also added VoIP capabilities, so conductors while traveling can connect to a landline over wireless, to contact their office in Jincheng City and provide an update on the track conditions and schedule changes. Jincheng Coal Company can now go through their secure line to communicate within the company data network.

“Using a single Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh network, the Jincheng Coal Company has been able to move to a state-of-the art communications and video surveillance system with real-time mobile-to-mobile as well as mobile-to-fixed capabilities where it was previously impossible, unreliable or cost prohibitive to do,” said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide. “Consequently, its workers can plan and execute tactics faster and smarter, enhancing the safety and efficiencies of the private railroad.”
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