Virtualization Technology News and Information
North America's Largest Glass Manufacturer Standardizes on IGEL Endpoints to Monitor and Manage Automotive and Architectural Float Glass Production

IGEL, a world leader in software-defined endpoint optimization and control solutions for the secure enterprise,today announced that Vitro, North America's largest glass manufacturer, has updated is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) at two business divisions making automotive and architectural glass. VDI supports two critically important in-house written applications used to monitor and manage the output of Vitro's float glass production lines. 

Founded in 1909 in Monterrey, Mexico, Vitro has grown organically and through acquisition to become one of the world's leading glass manufacturing companies with over 20 subsidiaries in the Americas and Europe.  

In October 2016, it acquired PPG's entire flat glass operations for $755 million- glass primarily used in commercial and residential construction - and, in March 2017, purchased Pittsburgh Glass Works' (PGW) automotive glass business for $310 million to make it the largest glass maker in the USA.  

PGW designs, manufacturers and supplies all the glass used in cars such as windshields, sun roofs and side panels working with major car manufacturers including Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota. 

Vitro's VDI environment has been refreshed at its PGW plants - a shift from Citrix XenDesktop 4.5 to 7.8 - with the company moving away from its legacy Windows Server 2003 platform to the latest version which is fully supported by Microsoft.  

Adam Tesch, Vitro's systems engineer, explains, "Our fleet of 500 endpoints had to be changed as part of the Citrix upgrade project as they're not compatible with XenDesktop 7.8. We never like to rest on our laurels and want to be at the forefront of technology, so the decision was made to carry out a full RFP to find out what was available on the market rather than just using the latest models from our existing supplier."

IGEL was selected by Vitro with the help of IGEL Platinum Partner AEC Group.  "We recommended IGEL to Vitro because its Universal Management Suite (UMS) software simplified management of the estate, provided ease of use for operators and IT staff and its endpoints have both serial and parallel port connectivity which was a specific technical requirement," said Ken Rindt, Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Alliances for AEC Group.

Vitro has installed a mixed IGEL environment. It has standardized on UD3 terminals buying 450 endpoints for its [PGW] automotive plants and associated offices, purchased 50 powerful quad core UD6 terminals for its architectural business, along with IGEL's Universal Desktop Convertor (UDC) software. This has enabled some of Vitro's endpoints from its previous supplier to be repurposed and converted into IGEL Linux-based terminals. The solutions were sold through IGEL reseller, Software House International. 

Furthermore, UD10 touchscreens are deployed at a [PGW] facility in Elkin, North Carolina and IGEL Zero Clients installed at joint venture business in China called Shandong PGW Jinjing Automotive Glass Company.  

IGEL Used in Tough Working Environments - the Float Glass Production Lines

Used at 10 manufacturing plants, IGEL endpoints are used directly on the float glass production lines to support two in-house written applications used to run the manufacturing processes.  They analyze the glass making machines, counting and reporting on what is being processed.  This covers the amount, quality and size of glass being made, as well as driving Intermec printers which are used to create barcodes and other information put on the glass.  Without this, Vitro would not be able to easily ship products to customers - like car manufacturers - who rely on Just in Time (JIT) production methods.  IGEL UD3 and UD6 thin clients have serial and parallel ports respectively which Vitro required so that its printers can be connected.  

Tesch says, "Simply put, these applications track inventory and show operators what's happening on the lines which run continuously 24/7.  They're core to the business of making and bending glass.  As part of the Citrix refresh initiative, we've had to re-write both applications from the ground up which was a complex task."

Today, the backend IT infrastructure (at PGW) is mostly virtualized with the business using converged hardware located at its two Pittsburgh-based datacenters. Along with Citrix 7.18, VMware vCenter and vSphere run on Dell PowerEdge VRTX servers with have significant RAM and CPU power. 

VDI and IGEL terminals delivers clear return on investment (ROI)

In terms of ROI, Vitro is benefitting from IGEL solutions in various ways:

  • Enhanced reliability especially in the dusty environment found in its glass factories.  Since Vitro is a 24/7 operation, endpoints always have to be up and running.  Tesch says, "Thin clients are ideal for manufacturing environments as there are no fans or hard drives to go wrong.  They can weather the storm a lot better than PCs which I call ‘spinning rust' as hard drives wear out over time.  Even so, we do locate the endpoints, mice and keyboards in protective enclosures and, to date, we've not had any failures."  
  • Easy management compared to its previous thin client solution which just came with a basic management utility showing limited information like IP and MAC addresses. In contrast, IGEL's UMS is comprehensive and feature rich enabling endpoint management to an extremely granular level. 

Tesch says, "You apply profiles and group policies, with the UMS offering a hierarchical structure to offer local management of the devices per site. We also have visibility of the whole environment at a corporate level and can help provide support by shadowing people if necessary. Local profiles might involve altering specific screen sizes or changing time zones. With our previous solution, you'd have had to practically start coding to do this sort of thing. Not so with IGEL."

Jed Ayres, President and CEO, IGEL North America, adds, "Security is maximized as operators on the manufacturing line are only presented with Stars and SPF with the endpoints secured and locked down. This prevents end-users meandering around the environment, downloading information or introducing security vulnerabilities. We have provided close presales, account management and ongoing support to the PGW-Vitro team which has enabled a swift and efficient project install."    

IGEL Solutions to Be Part of Vitro's Future 

Based on the success of the project, the plan is to extend the IGEL footprint globally over time and install endpoints and its software at other Vitro businesses.  Tesch concludes, "IT people onsite are often cautious about changing hardware in our environment.  However, the IGEL deployment has been smooth such that all of them are happy and they work with the endpoints with minimal assistance.  We continue to champion IGEL and want its solutions to be Vitro's corporate standard moving forward."

To watch the IGEL video case study with Vitro, visit
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2019 9:57 AM by David Marshall
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