From the Factory Floor to the Front Office

Over the course of the last decade, the growth of thin client computing in factories and industrial environments has continued to increase as demand has steadily risen.   In these facilities, where environmental and safety factors are often the primary influence when deciding on a reliable computing platform, there is a definite need for technology that replaces the PC.  As a machine, the PC is not intended to operate in an area filled with vibration, airborne particulates, or hazardous gases.   Such concerns and factors explain why there is constant growth in the industrial thin client computing arena.  But this beckons the question, if industrial operations continue moving to the thin client because they HAVE TO, then what is the impetus for the front office CHOOSING TO? [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 12

Multiple Sites

• Switchover to thin clients left one branch with new PCs.
• Other branches deployed ThinManager Ready thin clients.

• Duplicate success of thin clients to branch with ThinManager’s WinTMC to protect PC investment.

A worldwide manufacturing company started to standardize on ThinManager and installed thin clients at four of their locations.

Another location had just deployed PCs throughout their plant, but once they saw how well the ThinManager Ready thin clients worked and how much money it saved, they wanted to switch to ThinManager. [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 10


• User interface needed underground in dusty, harsh environment.

• Servers installed at ground-level in controlled rooms.
• Thin clients deployed in the mine.
• IT maintains and monitors from the ground-level.

One of the shafts in this mine extends over a mile into the earth into an extremely dusty environment that is particularly hostile to computers. A PC failure meant an hour delay while a replacement is brought down from the surface. The only alternative was to setup a computer shop manned by IT underground. Neither alternative was acceptable. [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 9


• IT and production are in separate facilities.
• IT was losing valuable resources while traveling to other sites for maintenance.

• ThinManager Remote Administration allows IT to control and manage a remote site from one location.

Many companies have one IT department that covers a number of locations requiring the IT staff to make regular visits to the other plants for maintenance and repair.

Using standard ThinManager utilities this same staff has access to all remote sites allowing the IT staff to manage them from a central location. They can even shadow sessions and view process and load statistics. [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 8


• Paper oriented dispatch system forced operators to central area for each new order.

• Wireless thin clients mounted on forklifts allowed operators to receive instructions “on the go”.
• Scanners on serial port allowed verification using barcodes on delivered products.

A manufacturer used a primitive paper system for dispatching the forklifts to deliver materials used in the process. After each run the forklifts would need to return to the dispatch office for the next package of paperwork. [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 7

Food Production

• Night-shift worker installed an application with a virus on a PC.
• The infected PC controlled the HVAC system and could not close vents for fumigation.
• The plant had to stop production for 4 days to allow re-scheduling of the required treatment.

• Thin clients prevent access to operating system.

Fumigation of a large food production site takes careful planning and coordination to guarantee safety and prevent contamination. Fumigations are scheduled during employee holidays to prevent production interruption. [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 6

Manufacturing in a Dusty Environment

• As many as 3 PCs failing each week requiring IT and maintenance support.

• Up to 6 hours of lost production time for each failure.

• No moving parts mean that ThinManager Ready thin clients are more reliable.
• Failures can be replaced by operator in 15 minutes or less..

A manufacturing plant had PCs in a dusty environment. The fans sucked in dust and debris causing overheating and failure after about a year. Since the company had 200 PCs, several had to be replaced each week.

Replacement required the services of a computer technician to build and setup the computer, and then the services of a floor electrician to swap the hardware and connect the cables – a process that took several hours at best. [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 5

Power Generation

• Critical remote auxiliary gas turbine is rarely used but must be ready immediately when demand arises.

• Turbine area now controlled from main control room.
• Redundancy and Instant Failover make sure it’s always ready to be put into action.

A coal-fired power plant added a gas turbine generator to help meet power demand during peak usage periods.

The gas turbine generator has to be ready at all times but is used infrequently enough that it is unmanned. [...]