Effective Management of Facilities Large and Small


ESE Inc., the Engineering Solutions Experts, recently became a ThinManager Platinum Integrator after a number of successful, large scale deployments.  When we initially contacted ESE, their Director of Manufacturing Information Systems John Tertin stated, “This is going to be the new standard, and ThinManager is part of that standard.  Going forward, ThinManager will be employed wherever the SE system goes.”  Apparently, John wasn’t kidding because when we checked in with him again, he had another successful integration story to share with us.

After deploying and managing a Rockwell FactoryTalk View SE system at a food processing facility in central Wisconsin, the Mariani Packing Company of Vacaville, California purchased that facility.  John told us, “This was originally a major producer for Mariani that we had done work for previously and Mariani ended up buying the facility, which is how our relationship with Mariani started.”

“Mariani is a large dried fruit producer that makes just about every variety of dried fruit you can think of.  The facility at their Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin plant has embraced Rockwell Automation’s PlantPAX architecture and uses Logix controllers with the FactoryTalk View SE distributed SCADA package.  Since Mariani has expanded the production area at their Wisconsin facility, it became an ideal application for the ThinManager Platform,” said John.  When asked if Mariani is seeing value in such a small system, John replied, “They have already seen the benefits even though they originally started with only three thin clients and still had two existing thick clients on the plant floor.  When we proposed this solution to them, I explained that switching out the thick clients when they failed, or to proactively save money on maintenance costs would be extremely simple to do. They found a lot of value in that.  They decided to replace them with thin clients, which took less than an hour to do.”

More often than not, stories about successful deployments of hardware or software revolve around an organization trying to deploy and manage large numbers of clients and terminals since the per unit Return on Investment (ROI) is multiplied for each seat.  So how does a five client solution save money?  “Aside from immediate benefits within a manufacturing plant, ESE can also reduce headaches and minimize downtime for customers from within its own building. The ThinManager Platform enables ESE’s engineers to remotely access any of the terminals on the plant floor and shadow their systems to see real time plant data, help determine where problems may be occurring, and show an operator first-hand how to overcome the problem.  Mariani is a good example, from a small facility perspective, of how you can still find value in the product despite only deploying five clients.  We were easily able to move their thick clients onto the network using PXE Boot, and it is easy for them to expand beyond that,” said John.

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.

Tom Jordan

Marketing Lead for ThinManager - A Rockwell Automation Technology