As more and more automation takes place at factory floors, gone are the days when operators are expected to have all the information at their fingertips, rendering complex setup of displays and control panels obsolete.
While software-based thin client computing has now become ubiquitous in production automation, so too have the hardware appliances that can be customized and tailored for all industrial automation applications found at processing plants and manufacturing factories. Together with the availability of a variety of thin client management software, hardware appliances have evolved and changed in terms of their flexibility and capability.
The upgrade for Lanner Dongguan’s existing factory production line and the subsequent addition of 80 staff and 12500 square meters of production facility was intended for accomplishing the following goals:
- To centralize hardware management and troubleshoot
- To eliminate excessive equipment and wired connection
- To provide an uncluttered production floor
- To decrease power usage
Lanner’s LEC-7230L, a powerful and nimble all-in-one, one-for-all box PC and a unique software suite from VMware were commissioned for the production line upgrade.
The LEC-7230L is powered by the Intel® Celeron® Bay Trail, a SoC known for its significant improvement in computing performance and power efficiency; it is designed to be an all-in-one, one-for-all solution for a wide range of deployment scenarios that includes, but not limited to, production line automation, surveillance NVR, home gateway, digital signage, and retail POS.
A total of 80 units of the LEC-7230L were used to set up 5 assembly lines that include total of 80 work stations.
At each work station one unit of the LEC-7230L is secured to the back of a flat-screen monitor via the VESA mount and is connected to devices that include a keyboard, a barcode scanner and a monitor wirelessly by way of a Bluetooth transmitter. The only ‘wired’ connection needed is for the VGA monitor. Only one single server is required for wireless network communication to and fro all 80 work stations, as opposed to one server per work station, resulting in lowered energy costs and a more streamlined production line.
The software suite is installed on and run from 8GB CF cards, making available a single unified user interface that includes a login screen and read/write/upload privileges for authorized users at each terminal. Required applications such as terminal services and virtual desktops are served across distributed networking infrastructures while programs and operating system are run from a central server, therefore hard drives or local storage are no longer needed at each production station.
The aforementioned unified user interface not only allows for a more stringent access control and secure environment but also reduces system failover because of human errors or mishaps. Such setup also greatly simplified hardware repair and replacement in the unlikely event of failure.
The LEC-7230L is proven to add value to manufacturing execution systems (MES) by making administrating work stations in today’s factory environments significantly easier, safer and more reliable. With The deployment of the LEC-7230L at Lanner’s Dongguan factory floor, Lanner has not only enabled centralization for application delivery, information push, device control, troubleshooting, system configuration and user management but also has increased Dongguan factory’s production capacity by 8000 units/month.