Cattron’s mission-critical vision protects assets, people, and information where it really counts.
It’s time to rethink the popular notion of “mission criticality.” Too often it’s a phrase that gets thrown around the conference room table to describe “nice-to-haves,” diluting the impact of what engineers know to be true: There are machines that must perform flawlessly. Every time, in every environment.
For Ryan Wooten, CEO of Cattron, one of the world’s leading developers of wireless remote control and communications technology, flawless performance is the baseline upon which the company is built. For over 70 years, Cattron has served markets and industries where connectivity, control, and safety are absolute requirements.
The Ohio-headquartered firm provides customized control and communications solutions for the industrial, transportation, and mining sectors. And at this stage in the company’s history, they are solidly positioned as specialists in industrial controls with an essential overlay of data communication and decision-support technology.
From controlling railyard activity, or keeping communication clear and uninterrupted in underground tunnels and deep, hard rock mines, to ensuring that heavy machinery can stop in less than a breath, Cattron serves some of the biggest OEMs on the planet, as well as end users.
“I think about our mission, and who we are and who we help, and fundamentally we connect, control, and protect people, assets, and information in harsh environmental conditions, primarily where failure is not an option and safety is an absolute baseline requirement to participate,” Wooten recently told BOSS. “To me that means Cattron isn’t just a wireless radio company but a communication and control solutions provider. We are mission critical.”
Wooten added, “We don't participate in non-critical applications where you push the button, and if it doesn't work the first time you push it again, then maybe a third time, and then there's another alternative solution around that. If I push the button, it needs to work. If I need a piece of information or status update, whether it's utilization rates, uptime, safety on the system, it has to work 100 percent every single time. We build our entire global development and manufacturing processes around that fundamental core: It needs to work every time, from a hardware perspective, to firmware, into manufacturing and operations, and to our field services and technical support centers.”
Partners in Precision
Cattron is a major player in highly specific sectors of the industrial marketplace, as an innovator of controls and communications systems for cranes, materials handling, and logistics applications. “Most recently, we’ve successfully integrated into mobile robotic platforms, which is an interesting proposition for us,” Wooten said. “As robots and other industrial devices become more autonomous people still need to have and want to maintain control and shutdown capabilities in the event of emergencies. With our SIL3 certified Safe-E-Stop™, we are able to deliver a robust wireless safety control solution as part of our core portfolio.”
The company’s transportation technologies include speed control systems for driverless locomotives, throttle and brake remote control systems, and more, all designed to perform in difficult and extreme environmental conditions. On the mining side, the firm’s wireless remote controls enable workers to safely extract minerals from unsafe tunnels. Their SIAMnet™ Underground Communication System connects workers above and below ground with a robust underground voice and data communication network.
What sets Cattron apart is a commitment to collaboration and customization. Said Wooten, “It’s about partnership, our customization capability, and the willingness to go above and beyond what others would do in our sector. That's made us successful over the years, and it's a huge focus for me strategically.
“In addition to our enhanced focus on the control aspect of what we do, it’s also about that connectivity piece and ensuring that we have mission-critical, safe, robust wireless connectivity to facilitate control of devices and equipment.” The data layer enables Cattron to provide information to operators and OEMs to help improve their overall operations. “Safety is at the core of everything we do, whether it's a product differentiator for an end user market or it's just a baseline to participate in highly regulated markets. It's built into everything we are.”
Wooten estimates that 70 percent of the products Cattron offers are customized to some degree. “We partnered with a very large aerospace manufacturer because they needed to control multiple cranes in parallel to carry one device to assemble an aerospace piece of equipment. No one else in the industry could do that. Not only did we customize it, we took on the problem and came up with a dedicated solution while engineering the product.
“We were also able to develop intellectual property around it. We solved the problem for the customer that no one else could, created intellectual property around that, and now it's an offering that we can provide for other applications that are very similar to that. Early engagement is absolutely critical to us, but even if we're brought into a project in the middle, we will treat that much the same. We dedicate the engineers, the resources, and commit ourselves to helping resolve problems whether it requires just base configuration or full customization of an end solution.”
The incredibly rapid growth in connected wireless devices is creating almost unimaginable amounts of wireless interference, and that will compound as more and more devices, both consumer and industrial, become wireless. But as Wooten put it, “These challenges are where Cattron thrives.”
He added, “Interference is something we have to contend with. We have to ensure that we have the robust wireless link, because again we're controlling both information flow and data exchange but also controlling heavy industrial equipment in areas where failure could create safety concerns for people and assets,” he explained.
Application and system engineers are routinely called to the field to perform pre-installation assessments of communication and control mechanisms to ensure that a fully compliant and robust infrastructure is in place to support their technology. “It's not just about creating a wireless control device that's talking to a piece of machinery. If there's an entire infrastructure that needs to be established, we will support that infrastructure.”
Wooten concluded, “We don't want to make anything complicated. We want to take something extremely complicated and make it simple for our customers to integrate and use in their applications. When I define that robust mission criticality, that's fundamentally what I think of, and that's the challenge I push to my safety engineers and leaders around the world. When you turn it on it needs to work every single time in every single environment in which it’s designed to work. That's what we aim to deliver every time.”
For more than 70 years, Cattron has provided trusted wireless control solutions to environments where systems absolutely cannot fail, serving a variety of companies in industrial, transportation, safety systems and mining applications.
From standard to custom-engineered systems, Cattron offers reliable control solutions tailored to meet customer-specific requirements around the world, all while supporting clients with world-class service and technical support for as long as it is needed.
Cattron proudly delivers wireless solutions that connect devices, control machines and protect assets around the world.
655 N River Rd NW
Warren, OH 44483