ThinManager grows with expanding operations


When a large globally recognized beverage company needed to expand their North American facilities from coast to coast, they called on the Barry Wehmiller Design Group. With more than 25 years of experience as a global supplier of manufacturing technology, and over 600 dedicated technical professionals, they were the obvious choice for such a large project. When it was time to improve and upgrade those facilities, the Barry Wehmiller Design Group called on ThinManager.

“We looked at a number of different options and settled on the ThinManager Platform because of its great reputation as it was created specifically for industrial applications. It seemed to be an ideal solution for the plant floor. It doesn’t carry a lot of overhead and it is very easy to install. That was one of the primary considerations when we chose ThinManager,” said Mike Sommars of Barry Wehmiller Design Group. He then explained the totality of this large multi-phase, multi-location project that was deployed and expanded upon over a period of time.

“We initially had three sites. In each of those plants we had redundant physical servers running the HMI and one of the sites had two packaging lines with a total of ten clients, of which six were thin clients and the others were thick clients. And then the other two sites had single packaging lines with five clients total, of which three were thin clients. Starting with the next facility, we decided to move away from thick clients and installed thirteen thin clients. After that our next ten sites, which required a total of 55 thin clients, were all rolled out with a ThinManager Platform install using a number of redundant ThinServers.”

To complete so many successful installs required using the ThinManager Shadowing feature. “Using the basic connectivity between the clients and the ThinServer with Shadowing allowed us to check the health of the network and troubleshoot the install remotely. The Shadowing feature is an amazing time saver from a troubleshooting standpoint,” said Mike. “ThinManager’s ease of configuration and deployment made it very simple to copy the terminals and replicate the install going forward.”

In the middle of this process, Barry Wehmiller integrators were asked to install a new HMI at one of the plants. “Using the new HMI with ThinManager was very easy. Once we had the application developed the way we wanted, it didn’t make sense to port back over to a different platform. After the initial setup, we were able to replicate it, and it became a very streamlined and simple solution without a lot of headaches.”

With so many locations and machines, the customer was concerned with the initial cost, as well as the total cost throughout the life cycle of the system. Mike explained that the costs commonly associated with applying patches and future upgrades would be far less with the ThinManager Platform. “By using ThinManager and making it so simple to work on the machines remotely with the Shadowing feature, we were able to reduce their maintenance cost.”

We asked Mike what the future was for their company and ThinManager. “With such a simple learning curve and helpful tech support our plan is to continue using ThinManager on our upcoming projects. Without hesitation, I would recommend ThinManager as a solution to anyone.”

Tom Jordan

Marketing Lead for ThinManager - A Rockwell Automation Technology