The Box Thin Client can be configured so that the connection to the process control system computer is established automatically at startup. From then on, the connection is constantly monitored and is automatically restored in the event of network faults or server failures; alternatively, the client can connect to a predefined backup host computer. This guarantees maximum uptime and constant display of process images.
Centralized Management with Cloud Computing
Another feature is the additional Visunet Control Center software in conjunction with RM Shell 5. This enables the centralized management of all client devices: from BTCs in the control room to Visunet remote monitors in Ex Zones 1/21. Network communication allows all devices to be set up, configured and monitored from a central station. Thus, the time-consuming local setup of individual monitors and BTCs is a thing of the past. Furthermore, personnel no longer have to enter hazardous areas and cleanrooms to perform maintenance on the HMI systems.
The Visunet Control Center enables the easy configuration and creation of connection profiles for a BTC or remote monitor, which can then be transferred to other devices. The creation of device groups aids the commissioning engineer and enables settings to be efficiently distributed to several devices simultaneously. Settings and firmware updates can be distributed via these groups with a single click, saving time and costs.
How Thin Clients Facilliate IT Maintenance
With the remote maintenance functions, plant operators can use the Visunet Control Center to connect to each BTC or remote monitor with RM Shell 5 on the network. Via a “dashboard function”, they can view the devices' current displays as an overview, thus continually monitoring the devices' status. Using “session shadowing”, they can connect to the BTC or remote monitor to support the local operator from afar. Hence, the firmware on all Pepperl+Fuchs clients provides optimum convenience as well as maximum security. The Visunet remote monitor and BTC families provide an end-to-end hardware platform that is well suited for the various scenarios in the industry, from the control room to hazardous areas.
* * M. Seissler is Product Portfolio Manager; S. Sittel is Business Development Manager HMI, at Pepperl+Fuchs, Mannheim/Germany.