Incuity Software: Visual unification: SOA-based solution converts production data into actionable intelligence

International Paint was experiencing the kind of problem a manufacturer would love to have. An operating unit of Netherlands-based Akzo Nobel, the company was running its Houston-based plant full-tilt with three shifts, but needed more capacity to handle the growing business. The question was whether to expand, or find new means to improve productivity.


International Paint was experiencing the kind of problem a manufacturer would love to have. An operating unit of Netherlands-based Akzo Nobel , the company was running its Houston-based plant full-tilt with three shifts, but needed more capacity to handle the growing business. The question was whether to expand, or find new means to improve productivity.

The company turned to Incuity Software , an operating unit of Rockwell Software that offers enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) solutions said to accelerate extraction, aggregation, and presentation of data from production in a format that could likewise speed execution of work orders moving through the plant.

“The old system took a lot of time [accessing] information about how much material was in mixing vessels, how long the production cycles were, or how many cans or drums were filled,” says Jean-Paul Scheepens, production manager for the IncuityEMI implementation. “We had a lot of inefficiencies. We used Incuity to do end-to-end operations analysis.”


Incuity's service-oriented architecture (SOA) and drag-and-drop features made it easy for International Paint to create and test a variety of key performance indicators (KPI) using real-time production data—then populate its management dashboard with content-rich graphical information. From the dashboard, it's easy to drill down from any particular KPI to view all detailed data beneath it.

With IncuityEMI, the company slashed process cycles by 35 percent, and eliminated the entire third shift while boosting overall output.

Columbus, Ohio-based Hexion Specialty Chemicals , a global operation with 100-plus plants, also turned to Incuity for much the same reason: a common tool for gathering data from disparate data sources and historians. IncuityEMI allows analyzing data independent of underlying infrastructure—shared through portal or Web browsers—and provides real-time feeds to reports and KPI dashboards used in multiple locations.

IncuityEMI gives Hexion production managers the tools to easily track orders; for R&D labs to monitor product quality and test new resin formulations remotely; and for shipping and inventory to closely monitor materials. Process engineers likewise use it to monitor OEE, and drill down to resolve issues and optimize processes. The initial facility implementation netted a first-year savings of $300,000, spurring faster ramp-up and multisite rollout across the enterprise.

“Incuity's value is in providing a visual unification layer through an underlying data model—its secret sauce,” says Alison Smith, a director with Boston- AMR Research . “The ease with which it can be created and extended is phenomenal. Its connectivity power distinguishes it from other products.”

Smith also cites IncuityEMI's network interrogation capabilities as impressive as well.

“When you install it, agent-based technology goes out on the network and finds everything you need to connect to. It informs you what's there, and then enables you to connect with it.”

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Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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