Kruse Controls Selects ACP’s Thin Client Technology for Dredging Operation

pdfdownload

Twenty miles west of Palm Beach sits about 5500 acres that are in need of a good dredging. And after being upgraded with ThinManager Ready Thin Clients, the Sam Houston, owned by Palm Beach Aggregates in Florida, is just the dredge for the job.

There are six pits on the property, rang- ing in size from 111 to 200 acres. When the Palm Beach County Water Authority pur- chased water storage rights they specified the contours they required with final depths ranging from 45 to 50 feet. Jay Wise, Ed Pabst, and Doug Coulter of Kruse Controls (the project integrator), along with Chris Branas of Phillips & Jordan (par- ent company of Palm Beach Aggregates) are building a new automation package on the 30-inch dredge to control swing, ladder depth and stepping ahead. This allows the creation of the specific profile without con- stant operator input.

[...]

Total Cost of Ownership

A Thin Client computer runs what looks like a full Windows NT 4.0 operating system on each Client installed in a factory. This is accomplished by having a powerful server running a version of Microsoft’s NT 4.0 designed for Thin Clients, NT Terminal Server 4.0. This version of Windows allows multiple users to log in and establish a full Windows session running on the server. Each user gets a dedicated share of memory, some slices of CPU time, and access to the server’s disks and applications.

[...]

ThinManager Version History

Since its introduction in 1999 ThinManager has undergone a number of improvements. But the most significant changes have come with the latest releases.

Here is a look at the most important features added and enhanced since ThinManager 2.3.

Introduced in ThinManager 2.4

  • Configuration Wizards – Perform most of the configuration through computer directed wizards and walk through any number of complex configuration tasks without the fear of missing an important step.
  • New Tree view of Terminal Servers and connected clients – See exactly which Windows Terminal Server is hosting each Thin Client. As clients log off one server and on to another, or in the event of a primary server failure and the automatic switching of all its connected clients to a backup server, the new tree will enable identification of all the server to client relationships.
  • Multiple monitoring connections to redundant ThinManager Servers – Provided the ability to run the ThinManager software on multiple machines. Load and start ThinManager wherever you need to be able to keep up with the system status.
  • Support for new Hardware – Added a number of new industrial ThinManager Ready Thin Clients.
  • ThinManager Configuration Import and Export – Multiple ThinManager Servers can work together by allowing for the export and import of the configuration of all managed Thin Clients. Along with this comes the ability to backup and restore ThinManager configurations.
  • Assign names to Servers – Even users who are not using a network with DNS can assign names to the ThinManager Servers and Terminal Servers on the network.
  • Create lists of available ThinManager Servers and Terminal Servers – Easy and automatic creation of server lists to cut down on confusion during initial system configuration and updates.

[...]

Comp Support customers to receive 3.1 at no charge.

On June 18, 2007 ACP will release version 3.1 of ThinManager. This thin client configuration, management, and security suite for thin client networks now offers even more functionality.

MultiMonitor adds support for up to 5 monitors using available hardware from Advantech and Arista. Using the MultiMonitor wizard a user can configure up to five monitors in a variety of layouts using spanning and screening. When used with MultiSession the thin client can be configured to run a separate session on each monitor through a single thin client.

[...]

Security Concerns Boost Thin Client Sales

A few days ago a company called Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBSN) announced the results of the company’s seventh annual IT Decision-Maker Web@Work study.

Some of the threats they explored:

Spyware – Hacker software that runs undetected on a PC and is usually designed to monitor and report back any data the criminal thinks will be to his advantage.

Keyloggers – Spyware that has the ability to record keystrokes and screen shots.

Bots – (short for robot) – Software unknowingly installed on an end-user’s PC and can communicate with other computers on the outside of the company.

[...]

What Does ACP Do?

Here is the Elevator Pitch – the 15 second version of our product that you could lay out during an elevator ride:

ACP provides management tools and software for Thin Clients and Terminal Servers. Thin Clients allow you to run standard Windows applications like a mainframe, with multiple users running at the same time on a single server, dramatically reducing costs.

If the person is interested, I normally hear a number of follow-up questions. Here are some of the most common ones with my answers:

[...]

Thin Client I/O

There are two methods for getting data into a Thin Client system – through the Server, or through the Clients.

Getting data through the Server

For small installations, where input/output devices are not very far from the Server, and there are not many devices to read, this can be a very good solution. It is certainly the most traditional, with I/O devices being connected to serial ports or special hardware installed in the Server. As all Thin Client software runs on the Server anyway, there is no problem with each client identifying its input or output devices with physical addresses on the Server. This is also very efficient, as data doesn’t have to travel through the Client, to the Server, and back to the Client. However, it is very limited – a Server can only handle so much I/O, and if devices are far removed there will be difficulties in moving data (especially serial data) over the distance.

[...]

Upgrading a Glass Coating Plant

Several years ago, a glass manufacturer was building a new glass coating facility. They wanted to use all the latest technology, especially for the control and monitoring system. It was decided that one of the new MS-Windows based HMI packages, Wonderware, would be used.

The operator interface screens (HMI or Human Machine Interface) were used to monitor every aspect of the coating operation. A particular challenge in this application is that the customer wanted almost all of the points needed for process monitoring displayed at the same time. This resulted in a main display consisting of tiled InTouch screens showing about 1500 points. These screens are displayed almost all of the time

The control system consisted of 3 industrial computers in the main control room and 2 on the manufacturing floor. Each computer ran Microsoft’s Windows 3.1 and WonderWare’s Intouch HMI package. Two large PLCs were responsible for controlling the manufacturing process – one PLC for each of the manufacturing floor PCs – with Ethernet communications between the PC and the PLC. All required data was then distributed to the other PCs via NetDDE. The system performed very well, but over the time many limitations were discovered. The following is a list of the major issues:

[...]

Critical Water Operations: Moving Forward with a New Setup

pdfdownload

One of Ireland’s Largest Pharmaceutical Companies Deploys New Thin Client Infrastructure

When it came time to replace old PCs that had been used to manage the critical water operations at one of Ireland’s largest pharmaceutical companies, they called on SolutionsPT and Control & Information Management Ltd (CIM) in Dublin to recommend a new path forward. The customer needed to replace the system they were using to control the clean water input and the wastewater output for all of their facility’s processes. Both were GMP systems, critical to the site’s operation, providing water to the multiple buildings located at the site.

[...]