Black Diamond Mechanical & Welding Ltd.
Logging involves the repair of extremely complex equipment in punishingly remote regions. Often, an apprentice must evaluate a problem, travel to the nearest Internet connection to communicate with the master mechanic, return to the field site to implement the advice, and repeat until something works. Not the most efficient process.
“Since we introduced Sat-Fi to our operations, we are seeing a significant productivity improvement,” says David Pope, Owner of Black Diamond Mechanical & Welding Ltd. “With Sat-Fi, it’s like having the master mechanic standing right beside the apprentice in the field. It makes troubleshooting and equipment management much easier and minimizes downtime for equipment.”
Black Diamond services much of its log loaders, grapple yarders, off-highway logging trucks, road building excavators and hydraulic hoe drills in its shop in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. In many cases, technicians travel hundreds of miles to make a fix in the field.
“With Sat-Fi, our remote crews can use their own smartphones, tablets and computers to communicate using reliable satellite technology, without the need for access to cellular or GSM networks”
One particularly remote logging site, Taleomy, has no cell service and no access road. A Turbine Otter float plane transports crew, while a tug and barge bring in the equipment and heavy supplies. Repetitive travel to an Internet connection isn’t an option. The ability to use smartphones is becoming a necessity for keeping off-grid operations online, Pope says.
Black Diamond has long-used Globalstar GSP-1700 Mobile Satellite Phones
to maintain voice communication. The need for a data connection motivated Black Diamond to become the first business in Canada to deploy Globalstar’s Sat-Fi Hotspot
“With Sat-Fi, our remote crews can use their own smartphones, tablets and computers to communicate using reliable satellite technology, without the need for access to cellular or GSM networks,” says owner David Pope. “This ensures we have open and operational communications networks with our field crews at all times.”
Black Diamond installed its Sat-Fi unit in a mechanic's service truck to provide Wi-Fi connectivity throughout a 100ft radius. Sat-Fi enables up to 8 users to communicate directly with the company’s master mechanic at any time, completely independent of the reach of cellular.
Sat-Fi addresses a number of challenges for Black Diamond. “There is a shortage of skilled heavy duty mechanics in our industry. In fact, half of the people on our job site are apprentices,” says Pope. “In order to ensure equipment uptime and to be able to troubleshoot any equipment failures that may arise, they need access to and guidance from our master mechanic Jarvis Shaver, who is not on site.”
With the Globalstar satellite network, a worker can text or email pictures of an equipment problem, along with questions, directly to Shaver.
“Sat-Fi also provides our workers with excellent satellite-based voice service,” says Pope. He adds that he appreciates the fast data speeds, clear voice quality and affordable pricing—plus the mere minutes required for system set-up. Globalstar technology also improves worker safety by ensuring reliable access to emergency services should the unexpected occur.