In America today, there are currently more than 14,000 operational chemical manufacturing facilities. Each of them provides their own challenges requiring unique and individually crafted systems to monitor and manage their manufacturing processes. When beginning a project with zero room for error, deploying the proper resources is critical.
Factory Automation Systems, founded in 1992, has been providing system design, deployment, and management services for a global leader in chemical manufacturing for a decade. Specializing in Programmable Logic Computer (PLC) integration, Factory Automation Systems partnered with their customer to grow along with their industry while never losing sight of where they started.
“When we first started working with them, they had one computer running the entire plant,” said Chris Murphree of Factory Automation Systems. “The customer wanted a Wonderware based central recipe management system but needed a local HMI station at each mixing cell. Wonderware and ThinManager have a great relationship. Our Wonderware representative recommended the combined solution and introduced us to the ThinManager offering,” Chris continued. “We took it to the customer and explained the architecture and functionality. Using industrial thin clients provided huge initial and long-term cost savings by eliminating the need to replace PCs on the floor every 12 to 18 months due to the environmental factors.”
Chris went on to explain the Wonderware and ThinManager based architecture. “Before the upgrade, the customer was using Wonderware’s InBatch as the recipe engine with InTouch on the front end. We modified the system from a standalone station to a full server-client architecture. ThinManager AppLink allowed us to easily and securely deploy operator stations throughout the facility. The Shadowing function was also a great tool for providing remote support and troubleshooting for our customer. Any time they had a problem, we could securely access an individual HMI from a remote location and operate it as if we were on site.”
After their successful deployment at the original facility, Factory Automation Systems was contracted to implement the same architecture at five more facilities. “Our customers are thrilled with the productivity they get from these systems as well as the ease and cost of maintenance. From our perspective it takes a lot of the cumbersome effort out of configuring Terminal Services,” Chris concluded. “We set up a few basic parameters, create some accounts, and then do everything else in ThinManager. It’s pretty straightforward.”