Edited: March 29, 2018
The combination of wireless communication and hearing protection comes in handy just about everywhere outside of a cubicle farm. Come to think of it, Sonetics full-duplex wireless headsets with a NRR of 24dB and Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone would even be helpful on a cubicle farm. They might give your neighbor pause before hitting you up to support his kid’s outdoor camp.
In all seriousness, wireless communication with hearing protection is a clear winner in challenging work environments where high noise is a factor. Still, this covers more workspaces and scenarios than you might think. Here are seven use cases where team wireless communication with Sonetics headsets is improving operational outcomes.
Underground Wireless Communication
Sewer mapping and repair can be…well, let’s just say it has its challenges. Beyond the obvious, conducting a survey with a crew composed of a vac truck team and an contract camera team requires tight communication and coordination.
The old method had the vac truck team go down the manhole first. After that team finished, they would call the camera team by cell phone to have them inspect the line. When the vac team forgot to call—or couldn’t reach the camera team—they would move on to the next manhole. But often, when the camera team found something that required the vac team’s attention, they wasted a lot of time waiting for the vac truck crew to return to the manhole, get set up again and fix the problem.
Today, Sonetics wireless headsets keep the crews connected at all times. At the beginning of a shift, the vac truck crew gives the camera team one of their Sonetics wireless headsets. No more neglected or missed phone calls. No more backtracking.
Noise in the Forest, Not Forest Noise
Normally, it’s peaceful in the woods. There’s noise but it’s not deafening, unless a tree falls, which only makes a sound if you’re there. Or if there’s a fire. Forest fires are deafening. When man has to fight a forest fire or help clean up afterwards, the serenity of the woods is temporarily shattered.
One of our customers uses their Sonetics team wireless communication system to overcome the challenges of restoring the forest after a fire, constructing trails and maintaining native habitats. They use it most often for backhoe operations. As forests are rarely on level ground and are—for some reason—filled with trees, backhoe operators can’t see other workers on the crew who may be clearing brush on the other side of an embankment. A Sonetics wireless system eliminated excessive work stoppages that occurred when the operator had to make sure ground workers were out of harm’s way before proceeding. Work got done more safely and quicker, which increased productivity and reduced costs on rental equipment.
Increasing Safety for Pouring Molten Metal
Iron melts at about 2,750°F. If you’re pouring yourself a hot cup of alloy, then you’ll want to do your utmost to avoid splatters. One manufacturer of metal alloys outfitted a three-person team responsible for complicated metal pours with Sonetics headsets. The team is able to stay in continuous communication amid a loud work environment so they can adjust pours in real time and avoid missing the mold.
Preventing Hearing Loss for the Next Generation
One owner of a road surface marking company already suffered from noise-induced hearing loss. Years of eardrum-blasting power washing to remove old paint markings had taken its toll. He didn’t want his son and work crews to suffer the same fate.
The owner bought a Sonetics wireless team communication for the pressure washing truck even though he felt that no one would wear the headsets. In his experience, workers found the isolation of earmuffs so disturbing that they preferred to risk high-noise exposure. He was pleasantly surprised to discover that the crew loved the headsets after they wore them the first time (thanks, listen-through!). And, he wouldn’t pass along the legacy of hearing loss when he handed the business over to his son.
Rugged Durability for Towing Operations
Towing presents some freakishly demanding work environments. Imagine how much more demanding they must be if you specialize in towing buses. Backing up and negotiating 90-degree turns can be especially challenging.
When one metro bus system grew weary of headsets they described as “similar to a cheap toy,” they upgraded to a rugged Sonetics system to make towing operations safer and more reliable. The team now wears their Sonetics wireless headsets every time they have to tow a vehicle back to the maintenance yard.
Reducing Damage to Expensive Equipment
I can’t tell you what this customer “moves and maintains” because that would give it away. The equipment involved is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Often, it’s one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable and massive; up to 100 feet long.
Teams were using two-way radios to communicate. But due to the nature of the work, one crewmember consistently monopolized the radio’s one-way capacity. As a result, it was nearly impossible for other team members to get a word in edgewise. The Sonetics system with full-duplex DECT7 wireless communication broke through the lockout so the whole team could talk together and even interrupt each other, like being on a conference call. The risk of incidents that cause expensive equipment damage dropped steeply, thanks to the Sonetics system’s ability to deliver real-time verbal warnings. Hands-free communication (no PTT required) also freed up the crew for more efficient maintenance work.
Wireless Training Brings Manufacturing Employees Up to Speed Faster
Automobile manufacturing plants are vast, complex, noisy work environments. No one walks onto the floor on their first day and just starts building cars. Training on processes, safety and how to use specially-designed equipment is part of the investment in every new employee.
One auto manufacturer added Sonetics wireless headsets to the training regimen to get employees up to speed faster. They immediately realized three benefits:
- Employees could be trained while they worked instead of in a separate classroom environment.
- Trainers could provide performance feedback and answer trainees’ questions in real time, which helped trainees adopt new skills faster.
- Trainees learned proper work habits and procedures more quickly, wasting less time performing tasks inefficiently or repeating work.
Need to Communicate in High Noise? Sonetics is There!
The seven use cases mentioned here are a small sampling of what’s possible with Sonetics team communications. We serve many industries. Still, sometimes even we’re surprised to learn how our systems are being used.