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Schauenburg Systems selects Quectel SC20-E for improved mine health and safety

We’ve all heard the stories of miners taking canaries in cages down into mines to act as an early warning system for dangerous gases, such as methane. The old system relied on seeing if a canary fainted to raise the alarm, providing a small window of time in which the miners could return to the surface and breathe fresh air. Thankfully, technology has moved on a lot and the Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling a new range of connected sensors that can detect not only gases but also many other hazards that are found in mines.

Schauenburg Systems, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for mine safety systems, has been at the forefront in innovations that improve mine safety yet are simple for mining organizations to deploy. The company offers a modular, fully-integrated and cost-effective solution for the full spectrum of mine safety solutions and management. In addition, the company offers the services of a system integrator with comprehensive turnkey solutions including the full set of multi-disciplinary services and program management methodologies required to ensure a successful and cost effective solution for the full spectrum of mine safety solutions and management.

Schauenburg Systems’ successful design, manufacturing and implementation of products have given it the experience and confidence to offer high performance solutions at competitive prices. The company places high emphasis on all-in-one systems and solutions and has the goal of providing the market with a world-class electronic product range for Health and Safety for underground mining. To this end, it has recently launched its SmartConnex portable and compact gas detector which can monitor several gases in real-time and communicate with other smart devices in its vicinity.


SmartConnex is able to do more than simply detect gases and Schauenburg was keen to add rich functionality to the new product. It turned to ICORP Technologies, its electronics components distributor, to locate a wireless module that could accommodate customer needs for multiple forms of wireless connectivity and location-awareness. ICORP was able to recommend the SC20-E module from Quectel Wireless Solutions because it addressed Schauenburg’s application design and requirements.

“The SC20-E module is an all-in-one solution that enabled our developers to have a quick time to market,” said David Malan, a business development associate at Schauenburg Systems. “The functionality of the SC20-E replaces most of the external components on the printed circuit board (PCB).”

Unlike traditional gas detectors that can only measure gas, the SmartConnex is a connectivity gateway for a multitude of sensors. The multifunctional design of SmartConnex eliminates the need for employees to carry numerous instruments for monitoring exposure to different hazards and therefore minimizes the cost of instrumentation. SmartConnex can be used for voice note communication to quickly distribute critical information among the worker ecosystem and collaborate to respond proactively to important events. SmartConnex uses location monitoring through global positioning system (GPS) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. The incorporation of location-awareness into wearable devices enhances the capabilities of risk monitoring technology in remote environments while the BLE technology also decreases the cost of location-awareness compared to traditional systems.

ICORP quickly identified Quectel’s SC20-E multi-mode smart LTE Cat 4 module with built-in Android operating system (OS) as an ideal component for the SmartConnex product line. The SC20-E delivers maximum data rates of up to 150 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps uplink based on LTE networks and also supports Wi-Fi and BLE. In addition, the module is backwards compatible with existing EDGE and GSM/GPRS networks, ensuring connection where there is no 3G or 4G coverage.

The module also combines high-speed wireless connectivity with an embedded multi-constellation and high-sensitivity global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver for positioning. A rich set of interfaces extend the suitability of the module to a wide range of M2M applications, making it suitable for performing multiple tasks within the SmartConnex device.

Schauenburg Systems provides its customers with full maintenance agreements to ensure the equipment supplied remains in good working order at all times, an essential requirement for health and safety applications of this type. The company’s technical teams undergo stringent training to ensure the highest standard of workmanship, especially for this lifesaving equipment.

“Our teams have worked well with the expert support that Quectel South Africa has provided,” added Malan. “Working on the Android Development Platform was a challenge but all our issues were resolved very quickly thanks to the help we received from Quectel’s experienced in-region team.”

Pini Sagi, Regional GM at Quectel Wireless Solutions, added: “It has been a pleasure to work with ICORP and Schauenburg Systems on this important project which is helping to keep miners safe by harnessing the power of IoT to make systems smarter. It has been great to work with experts in their fields to incorporate our SC20-E module into the SmartConnex solution which helps ensure miners are connected and their health and safety information and sensors can transmit data easily.”

Gerrie van Heerden, the national sales manager at ICORP, said. “We’re delighted to have played our role as a distributor by bringing Quectel’s SC20-E wireless modules to Schauenberg Systems. The modules are a great fit for the SmartConnex solutions and we’re looking forward to the companies’ next innovations.”

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