Joy Global Holding Company, is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of underground and above-ground industrial mining equipment and employs thousands of workers in assembly plants around the world.
Joy Global was using outdated and disparate phone systems in their production and assembly facilities. The company needed a way to quickly send a critical notification to workers in the event of an emergency or severe weather. In addition, it was difficult for managers to learn of the situation if someone dialed 911 directly instead of using the internal emergency phone number. With worker safety being a primary focus for the company, the challenge was to improve the safety of the workers by building an effective tool for emergency mass notification.
Joy Global implemented a Cisco Unified Communications solution across the entire enterprise, including network routers, phones, and wireless access points. InformaCast from Singlewire Software enabled Joy Global to transform its Cisco investment into a network-based mass emergency notification, crisis communication, and overhead paging system. Joy Global also uses InformaCast CallAware to monitor the phone system for specific numbers dialed, including 911.
Finding the Right Safety Solution
Joy Global/P&H Mining, like other manufacturers with large assembly plants, faced the challenge of quickly notifying workers in the event of an emergency or severe weather. Loud noise from production equipment and large, multiple-acre assembly buildings further complicated the task. Additionally, in the event of a medical emergency, it was difficult for managers to know if someone dialed 911. With worker safety being a primary focus for the company, the challenge was to improve the safety of the workers by building an effective tool for notification. Because of the outdated and disparate phone systems in their facilities, Joy Global/P&H Mining also looked for ways to standardize and modernize their communications infrastructure into a single system.
Joy Global/P&H Mining made the decision to implement a Cisco Unified Communications solution across the entire enterprise, including network routers, phones, and wireless access points.
“I was on the team that decided we were going to go forward with the Cisco phone system,” states Dan Carrion, senior voice engineer at Joy Global.
They decided on Cisco phones specifically because of “companies like Singlewire that are writing solution applications for Cisco systems.
Integrating with an Existing Legacy Notification System
“About two years ago our safety department approached us on a way to get people alerted to either evacuate areas or even just notify everyone in the case of tornadoes or other storms to take shelter,” says Carrion.
At that time, the safety department at Joy Global/P&H Mining installed an alerting system in their manufacturing facilities. With InformaCast, Carrion and his team integrated their new phone system with the legacy alerting system, resulting in a powerful notification solution that can be triggered easily in the event of an emergency.
“A single button push on our security guard’s phone is going to activate the [InformaCast] system,” explains Carrion.
Cisco wireless network access points are located throughout the plant, allowing staff to send notifications using the Cisco 7920 series wireless IP phones.
Today, when a notification is sent, everyone hears the same message. Workers in the plant receive the message via the legacy alerting system while office workers see a text message on their phone display along with an audio message sent to the phone’s speaker. If someone is on a phone call during an alert, the audio message is broadcast directly through their handset, overriding their call. Text and audio messages pop-up on the screens of computer workstations to alert co-workers.
The first test of InformaCast and its existing alerting system was a huge success.
“People were amazed that the phones could do that. And, because we could break [the message recipients] down by zones and even to individual phones, the safety department was all over that.”
The advantage that InformaCast offers over other notification systems is the ability to easily send notifications on a very granular level. If there’s an emergency in one building, notifications can be sent to just that building versus alerting and evacuating the entire campus. In addition, notifications can also be sent to all the other buildings, telling them to “stay away,” or “avoid the area.”
Monitoring when Emergency Numbers are Dialed
“We knew about the paging capabilities with InformaCast, but it was kind of a secondary product,” explains Carrion. “We originally wanted CallAware to alert the guard shack if someone dialed 911.”
CallAware is a feature within InformaCast that allows organizations to monitor their phone systems for a specific dialing pattern, such as 911, and then send an InformaCast notification with information on which phone dialed that number to other staff or security, all while the original call continues without interruption or delay.
“If the fire department were to roll up saying, ‘Where is your emergency?’,” says Carrion, “With 45 acres, we would have no idea where the person who dialed 911 is.”
With InformaCast CallAware, the guards now know the location of the 911 call, allowing them to quickly point emergency services in the right direction. Within weeks of being implemented, CallAware was triggered when a plant worker had a heart attack and an emergency call was made. While managers were directing first responders and emergency officials to the scene, a co-worker with medical training was able to apply and activate the automated external defibrillator, saving the person’s life.
The Reaction from Staff
“9 out of 10 comments were, ‘I thought this was just a phone system,’” states Carrion.
What the staff at Joy Global/P&H Mining soon realized was that these were not just phones, but a fully integrated communications system. The staff was used to having a phone system that was completely separate from their email and other systems. Now, with InformaCast, messages can be sent to Cisco IP phones, IP speakers, computer desktops, email accounts, and more.
“The fact that we can use [InformaCast] for both audio alerting and visual alerting, that was great.”
Visit our Manufacturing page for more information about how InformaCast can help enhance safety and communication in your facilities.