Trinity Solutions is a West Virginia engineering firm serving the coal and metal mining industries. One of their disciplines is using technology to monitor mines for environmental and life-safety hazards and ensure continuity of critical-communications.
Communications from the under-ground operations to the above-ground systems in coal mines is difficult. Running dedicated wiring is really not an option and most types of wireless communications won't work. Furthermore, Trinity Solutions needed the ability to transmit that data in all conditions including the preservation of critical communications after a cave-in.
With existing power lines in place to power machinery, Trinity Solutions wondered if that might be an option. In fact, they had a concept for coupling data signals to existing three-phase power lines, but they didn't have a complete solution and couldn't by themselves overcome the extreme noise that large motors and power conversion equipment create or make a complete product.
Trinity Solutions brought the problem to Patton's Special Projects team. Patton has a long history transmitting data over miles of old wiring. Patton also has expertise in ruggedizing hardware and protecting electronics in hazardous environments.
Patton, together with Trinity Solution, created a new product for delivering high bandwidth throughout, miles of underground, using those existing three-phase power lines; and it worked! The solution developed included some clever engineering to overcome the electrical noise generated by mining equipment.
Because Patton has been developing Communication Infrastructure solutions for decades, the underlying technology and know-how already existed. Having direct control of technology, Patton was able leverage transmission technology building-blocks and provided the solution. Patton know-how and research led to decision about where to place key signaling spectra to dodge the worse of the machine-made noise. Patton was also able to ruggedize the semi-custom devices for the harsh mining environment.
Patton's agile engineering and manufacturing and partnership with Trinity Solutions was able to take a problem and an idea into a viable, marketable and life-saving product for the Mining Industry.