Here at ACP we are constantly speaking to customers and integrators about their experiences with the ThinManager Platform so we can continue to improve our product and provide better service. Recently, we had an opportunity to speak with John Tertin, from ESE Inc. to discuss the challenges involved in completing their small scale ThinManager deployment for Mariani Packing Company.
Q- Has Mariani seen a value benefit in upgrading to a system containing only five ThinManager ready thin clients?
A- Yes they have. They originally deployed three thin clients, with two remaining thick clients on the plant floor running the FactoryTalk View client. I explained that switching out one of those thick clients when they die would be extremely simple to do using ThinManager. They have found a lot of value in being able to switch out clients with no facility down time. They eventually took out the thick clients and it took less than 10 minutes to convert them to ThinManager ready thin clients. They can now continue expanding their operation at will, which I’m sure they are going to do. When they decide to move forward with expansion, it will require no effort for them to be able to add any number of additional HMIs wherever they want to see them and they don’t have to buy an industrial PC…its cost effective.
Q- What does the current architecture look like now?
A- As far as architecture, Mariani is a small facility so they don’t have redundant terminal servers, they just have one. They are using both AppLink and Shadowing. Mariani is a good example from a small perspective of how you can still find value in the product despite only having three clients initially. Were easily able to move their thick clients they had on to the network and it is easy for them to expand beyond that.
Q- Are they using any ThinManager Platform features to increase plant efficiency?
A- They have found a lot of use in the ability to shadow a session because we did a lot of changes there in a short amount of time and there was quite a learning curve for a lot of the operators. So the ability for me as the designer of the system to be able to shadow the actual terminal that an operator is standing in front of and be able to physically show them what to do was very valuable during the first couple of weeks at that project because I could be at the office VPN’ed into their facility and physically show them on their screen as they were standing in front of it, what to do to correct or move forward with what their current process was. So they found that to be particularly very valuable.
After finishing discussing the deployment with John, we received the following staement from Mariani Packing regarding their perspective on the conversation:
According to Jesse Urban, the Director of Operations at Mariani Packing Company, ThinManager has proven itself to be the right solution despite the limited scope of the project. “Using ThinManager has reduced IT maintenance costs, eliminated the hassle of rolling out patches, and ended the practice of maintaining separate configurations on several plant floor HMIs. Installing additional clients is very easy to do. We’ve already replaced some of our thick clients with ThinManager ready thin clients and it only takes about 10 minutes to add or replace a terminal in our production area,” states Urban.
With such a wide range of facilities adopting the ThinManager Platform as their network management solution regardless of the size of the deployment, it is only a matter of time before ThinManager becomes the industry standard.
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