Partnerships with the Schauenburg Group of Germany and more recently, Newtrax Technologies, a Montreal-based technology company specializing in wireless solutions for tracking and data communications, has helped Jannatec move forward globally.
Ablitt has set his sights high, aiming to establish up to 10 distributors across the world within the next 18 months. He already has three: one each in the United Kingdom, Mexico and Chile. The company’s
30 to 35 per cent annual sales growth from 2006 to 2009 and Ablitt’s confidence in his product account for his optimism.
A dip in sales last year served as a wake-up call for Ablitt to rely less on local markets.
Jannatec’s new location at the NORCAT innovation centre allows staff to network with other like-minded innovators.
“Coming here has allowed us to utilize some resources of the other companies and share technology ideas back and forth,” Ablitt said.
The 7,500-square foot space has provided ample room for the company’s 24 to 26 employees to research, develop, manufacture and innovative new products and upgrade older ones.
With three full-time people performing research and development, there is little time for the dust to settle on older products. Among its innovations is a new generation of the Johnny Light Cap Lamp featuring an LED bulb that is not only brighter and smaller, but also lasts up to
The LED is placed in a focusable angle-hood reflector setting.
“This gives off the best light of any head lamp in the world for an underground mine,” Ablitt said.
“When we engineered it, we angled the reflector so it would reflect and give more light down at the miner’s feet.”
The battery and charger system has also changed. The original cap lamp models used nickel-metal hydride batteries, which lasted between two and 2.5 years. Ablitt has replaced these with lithium-ferro battery technology. They are 40 per cent lighter and last twice as long – between four and 4.5 years.
Another new product is a collision avoidance system called the Jannatec Advanced Warning System, or JAWS, a device placed on the dashboard of an underground vehicle that lights up, alerting the driver to
the proximity of mine personnel.
At the same time, a light on the cord that runs between the battery and the miner’s lamp will light up, alerting a miner to the presence of a nearby vehicle. A new “Safety Zone” feature of the advanced warning system turns the warning light off when the person enters a vehicle and turns it back on when the person disembarks.
Jannatec has also introduced its MineTrax tagging system. This system works with a wireless mesh network. Wireless “nodes” pick up the “tagged” miner or vehicle, tracking the individual or vehicle and pinpointing their location on a main console. The node’s range is 350 feet in a straight line and about 180 feet around a corner. Two lithium batteries will power the node for two years.
“You can track vehicle loads or the flow of manpower,” said Jason Buie, Jannatec’s research and development engineer. “In an emergency situation, it is like an automatic roll call as miners enter a
Buie said the tags are two-way, which means they communicate to the console above ground, but if a person finds himself in trouble, he can push a panic button. This will send an alarm signal over the network to the console on surface.
Jannatec and Newtrax Technologies are working together to introduce the MineTrax product to the mining industry.