International Paint adds EMI to its production IT palette

For actionable intelligence based on real-time visibility, International Paint is using IncuityEMI, an enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) solution.  Recipes are downloaded from a QAD enterprise system to the production system, including supervisory control software. Incuity is linked to the production system via standard OPC connectors to access both historical and real-time production data.


Rapid growth led to major capacity constraints at International Paint , a global supplier of marine and protective coatings, and an operating unit of Netherlands-based Akzo Nobel. As a result, it faced a crucial decision.

International Paint's Houston-based plant was running three shifts a day—full tilt. Was it time to invest in expanded capacity, or use information technology (IT) to improve productivity from existing capacity?

In choosing the latter course, actions taken included unleashing productivity held captive by latencies in getting information from its data historian into printed reports. For actionable intelligence based on real-time visibility, International Paint implemented IncuityEMI, an enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) solution from Incuity Software .

“With the old system, it took time to get operators information about how much material was in our mixing vessels, how long production cycle times were, and how many cans or drums were filled,” says Jean-Paul Scheepens, production manager. “Incuity gives us the information fast, and makes it easy to analyze by batch or shift. We weren't necessarily looking for a dashboard, but getting one was a real plus.”

KPI mix-in

Recipes are downloaded from a QAD enterprise system to the production system, including supervisory control software. Incuity is linked to the production system via standard OPC connectors to access both historical and real-time production data.

The plant operates 13 mixing vessels and four filling lines.

“We've uncovered inefficiencies with end-to-end line studies—from incoming raw material to outgoing finished goods—using Incuity to look at cycle time data,” Scheepens says. “It's not a problem gathering the data. The bigger question is, what are you going to do with it?”

Users say it's easy to create and test key performance indicators (KPI) using real-time production data. The system then tracks the KPIs, presenting the context-rich results within a management dashboard that allows drilling down into process details. KPIs are tested, validating assumptions, and are easily modified as needed.

“You have to put considerable thought into it if you want meaningful, successful KPIs,” Scheepens explains. “It has to be something more than a gauge that says something is good or bad. A KPI means nothing if it's not associated with a cause. We spent a lot of time defining KPIs and what was behind them. You need to understand that to take proper corrective action.”

Process profile

Incuity tracks the weight of materials going into mixing vessels; the time they take to fill; weight of materials coming out; time between batches; filling line rate speeds; and weights for some 600 individual SKUs. Current annual production volume is six million gallons.

Line and shift managers analyze batch profiles by product category and shift. “Incuity allows shift supervisors to drill down into performance during the shift and see where problems are, to determine process actions that improve performance.”

In this way, International Paint slashed end-to-end process cycles 35 percent, improving productivity by a similar number in the first six months of the project. That made it possible for the company to comfortably eliminate its entire third shift while still boosting overall output.

“We're gaining new insight to operations, but cycle-time reduction alone justified the project,” Scheepens concludes.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security