125-Year-Old Dairy Plant Pivots to the Next Century with Thin Client Technology

When one of Canada’s oldest operating dairy facilities needed to update their aging facility, they partnered with PID Engineering to create a modern visualization solution.

“Our customer needed to upgrade their outdated server running obsolete HMI software. This was putting their factory at greater risk of unreliability and downtime without support,” stated Jonah Renouf from PID. “We installed a Stratus Server and wanted to utilize ThinManager® to manage the client-based delivery system for HMI production screens throughout the plant.” [...]

Concept Systems logo

Concept Systems Deploys a Modern Controls Solution for a Modern Materials Maker

When it came time for a large, northwestern U.S. timber manufacturer to choose a controls solution for a new facility, they reached out to their partners at Concept Systems. The new facility would be creating products for a growing industry—multi-story, timber-built structures.

Most of us think concrete and steel when we envision how taller buildings are designed and erected. However, modern engineered timber products have many advantages over their concrete and steel counterparts. Faster time to completion and more environmentally sustainable raw materials are just a few. These modern beams also respond better in a fire as they don’t buckle under the heat and burn very slow, allowing building occupants more time to safely exit if a fire event were to occur. [...]

Real World ThinManager | Part 2

Chemical Plant

PROBLEM:

• Outmoded paper strip charts were a hassle and did not give instant real-time trending.

SOLUTION:
• Replaced strip charts with thin clients.
• Collected I/O in SQL server and backed up and archived.
• Archive gave operators the ability to see trending patterns in a more efficient manner.

Emission monitoring charts are critical to pollution control. Before their thin client installation this company captured this data on paper strip charts printed on machines that require oiling, inking, and paper refills. [...]

ACP ThinManager Advantages

Configuration

Centralized management
No local configuration or operating system on thin client (zero client)
Redundant ThinManager Servers
Auto-synchronization between ThinManager Servers
Management of terminal servers from ThinManager
Terminal shadowing from within ThinManager
Terminal-to-terminal shadowing
Unlimited licensing plans

Hardware

True industrial hardware
Single-click replacement
MultiMonitor hardware with single monitor sessions or spanned sessions
Share Keyboard & Mouse to control multiple thin clients
WinTMC for PC conversion
Redundant Ethernet ports
Modular touch screen support and ease of calibration
Special keyboard handling (ability to block key combinations
(CTL+ALT+DEL, Alt-F4, etc, force caps lock to be always off, etc)

Applications

AppLink for controlled application deployment
MultiSession for multiple AppLink applications
Tiling of sessions for thumbnail display
IP Camera integration
TermMon ActiveX for tight application integration
Failover to multiple terminal servers
Instant Failover of applications

ThinManager Helps You Avoid the Stuxnet Virus

 

There is a new villain in the computer virus world and it is from the Stuxnet family of malware.  The Stuxnet attack exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows software, WinCCConnect, which is an integral component of the distributed control and SCADA systems that facilitate production operations in many process-manufacturing companies. The vulnerability would allow the virus to extract process data and possibly HMI screens.

The director and chief economist of the independent watchdog The US Cyber Consequences Unit Scott Borg says “Either the attacker is planning on stealing very valuable information or they are going to use this access to the control system to do bad things.” The virus’s purpose seems to be what can only be termed as industrial espionage as attackers could steal information on how plants are run to possibly extort money or influence manufacturers by taking away the competitive edge with the information obtained.

Why PC’s are vulnerable

PC’s need a lot of attention and it is easy to find a chink in the armor.   For instance, if any of the machines are not up to date on virus protection, all it takes is one person to bring the virus in and it spreads to all other machines with out of date virus ware.

ACP’s ThinManager-Ready terminals have the USB drives disabled as a default, so the most likely access point for the virus is denied.  In the terminal services world, PC’s are replaced with ACP’s ThinManager-Ready terminals and a few servers. Fewer servers are needed to run ThinManager so you can concentrate resources to fewer critical systems. In addition, fewer terminals to update also means better security and less chance of any malware entering into the system, thus saving time and money. As long as the servers have adequate virus protection, the system is safe and the virus will not spread. There is no hard drive on a thin client to store the virus, so even if the thin client is exposed simply rebooting the terminal will erase the virus off the thin client.

There will always be  viruses to get into your computer system and do bad things.  ThinManager significantly decreases that risk while increasing ROI.

To find out more about our product, go to the ThinManager Website and download our software.

Top 10 Advantages to Using ThinManager

We all know that ThinManager is great, but do you know all the ways ThinManager can help you?  Here are the top 10 advantages of using ThinManager:

1.  Security: ThinManager knows the best security is not letting the problem close enough to be an issue, so we’ve created a secure environment. Terminal Servers can be secured away from public access, USB ports are closed by default and there are no CD or floppy drives to compromise security.  With TermSecure™ we added a second level of security with features like having users access and privileges controlled by administrator, an Auto-login option, and a key blocking module.

2.  Safety in Numbers: The client devices actually protect the centralized computing environment.  Additionally, setting up and securing one terminal server can support secure computing for as many as 30 or 40 terminals and users.  Setting up that many PC stations would take a lot of time, money and man power.  ThinManager configuration takes about 5 minutes per terminal and requires no special personnel, thus making it a cost effective alternative to traditional PC set ups.

3.  Not Susceptible to Viruses: ThinManager has a strong immune system.The client firmware itself is impervious to worms or viruses and ACP’s  remote boot technology means the client doesn’t even retain the firmware local to the device.  If the firmware were actually compromised, simply rebooting the client is all it would take to solve the issue.  Compare this to the time and money it would take to supply updates to each and every PC, or the maintenance required to remove a virus.

4.  Get Your License here: Whatever your licensing needs, ThinManager has you covered. Enterprise editions bring the ThinManager platform to enterprise installations, allowing an unlimited number of connections by ThinManager-Ready thin clients. ThinManager can also be purchased in 5, 10 and 25 packs for smaller installations.

5.  ThinManager Spreads the Love: When you use SmartSession with ThinManager, you add the power of load balancing.  Rather than manually configuring half of your clients to connect to one server and half to another, you can let ThinManager decide in real time exactly which terminal server is most available. ThinManager-Ready thin clients automatically select a server with the lightest load, minimizing wasted resources and is achieved without installing software on servers.  Spreading the processing load across servers offers assurance that your terminal servers are performing efficiently.

6.  ThinManager is Low Maintenance: ThinManager  ensures ease of use and maximum ROI. ThinManagerdoes not have a user accessible operating system so there is no virus that exists to infect them.  You save time and money because updates and scans are not required to keep ThinManager happy.  CE based Thin Clients have even been known to propagate viruses to Windows Terminal Servers. You can also manage, patch and upgrade a few terminal servers instead of dozens of PCs, increasing ROI. Thin Clients can be replaced in minutes (instead of the hours required with PCs) minimizing downtime and cost.

7.  Green is the New Black: ThinManager is eco-conscious and believes in conserving energy whenever possible. Thin clients consume about 80 percent less energy than personal computers while providing the same look, feel and benefits of a PC.  Thin clients have low power consumption due to the lack of hard drives, peripherals and the use of cooler low-power CPUs. They also generate less heat, lightening the load on the air conditioning system. 

8.  Long Live ThinManager: ThinManager-Ready thin clients have a projected life of 10 years or more – a user has yet to replace a ThinManager-Ready Thin Client because of poor application performance.  The useful lifespan of a PC is 2 to 3 years due to not being able to run the latest software. ThinManager’s long lifespan saves money.

9.  Failover Makes the Grade: ThinManager-Ready Thin Clients can be configured to recognize when a primary Terminal Server fails and automatically find and connect to a secondary server. This limits downtime in environments where loss of production must be minimized, again saving time and money.  A big A+ in ThinManager’s grade book.

10. Stay Fat and Get Thin: [...]