Much of the move to new human-machine interface (HMI) technology has been accompanied by a shift to thin-client systems. Instead, the processing is done in a server, often with redundant backup, that sits in a protected environment.

ThinManager, The World Leader in Thin Client Management & Industrial Mobility Solutions, is now a Rockwell Automation Technology.


thin client is a lightweight computer that is purpose-built for remoting into a server (typically cloud or desktop virtualization environments). It depends heavily on another computer (its server) to fulfill its computational roles.



After years of providing support and upgrades, it became apparent that there was a missing piece to the puzzle. That piece turned out to be ThinManager.

Contacted by a major cheese processing plant in California, ESE was brought in to upgrade their existing processes with a combination of modern hardware and a Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk View SE distributed SCADA system. They replaced the older PanelView terminals as well as a legacy RSView32 SCADA system that were on the factory floor with Allen-Bradley 200R VersaView Industrial PCs to give them more computing power and greater flexibility.

“FactoryTalk View SE was designed for this type of large scale integration,” stated John Tertin, Director of Manufacturing Information Systems at ESE. “Rockwell Automation offers the FactoryTalk View SE Client which can be installed locally on a terminal, but in larger configurations, the recommended architecture is to use a Terminal Server that has the SE Client on it while terminals on the plant floor connect to the Terminal Server using Remote Desktop Services. There really is a minimal amount of configuration because that’s what the product is designed to do.”

After fully upgrading the hardware and software, a new set of needs and challenges became apparent to both the client, as well as ESE. Using the Allen-Bradley 200R VersaView Industrial PCs on the floor left the customer vulnerable to viruses and malware via the USB ports on the PCs. In addition, maintenance was a headache as the control system is isolated from the internet and corporate networks which meant there was no way to upgrade or apply security patches to the Windows XP-based PCs. This made them more vulnerable and less efficient over time…which is how ThinManager was introduced as a solution.

By using ThinManager, they converted the VersaView 200Rs from PCs to thin clients via the PXE Boot function (ThinManager XLi). PXE Boot allowed the PCs to load the ThinManager firmware directly from LAN, instead of using the Windows OS located on the PC hard drive. This let them immediately switch from PC based computing with high maintenance to thin client based computing with savings due to centralized management.