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Owens Corning

Democratized real-time data improves production efficiency and collaboration at Owens Corning

Braincube’s IIoT software platform enables Owens Corning to achieve dynamic success across multiple business units and internal teams 

Owens Corning had massive amounts of historical data but wanted real-time data. The only real-time data that existed wasn’t easy-to-access. The company wanted to instantly analyze and visualize information generated by the production line machines so their engineers and data scientists could identify and resolve issues. 

Braincube is bringing data-driven decisions down to the shop floor level and helping people understand the value of data.

“We needed a solution that would utilize our existing historian to provide better insights into equipment and process statuses, and be able to help us predict where the process is heading,” Jackson said. “We didn’t have the time or knowledge to access the historian data on a daily basis.”

Braincube’s Digital Twin and Ready-to-Use Apps Help Facilitate Answers

Owens Corning decided to implement Braincube for deep data mining to find gains in their production processes. First, Owens Corning provided Braincube with 30 days of historical data. Within a month, the Braincube team structured the data and built a digital twin of Owens Corning’s entire production process. 

By having a contextualized data model of their production flow from start to finish, they could experiment with different variables in a digital test environment without wasting resources. The digital twin also enabled Owens Corning to use Braincube’s ready-to-use data analysis applications, requiring minimal internal IT resources. 

The contextualized data produced by Braincube helped Owens Corning’s experienced process engineers have the tools and resources they needed. The engineers can now characterize specific variables and visualize knowledge in a way that provides them with a complete understanding of the entire production process. Additionally, they can transfer these settings directly to the plant floor for immediate implementation.

“The Braincube toolset provides enough computing horsepower and algorithms to crunch through the historian data, which facilitates very rapid discovery,” Jackson said. “The raw data becomes information that can be used in real-time.” 

Braincube’s analysis apps helped the Owens Corning team identify which key parameters they needed to adjust to operate more efficiently. This information was presented via Braincube’s easy-to-use apps. These OI apps transformed the scope and ability of shop-floor operators and process engineers. 

Beyond the Problem: Unexpected Benefits

While Owens Corning initially implemented Braincube to help address a single problem, they started to see other use cases for the IIoT platform.

“In the 25 years I’ve been doing this kind of work, no other solution offers what Braincube provides,” said Brian Perlstein, Digital Manufacturing Enterprise Architect for Owens Corning’s Science and Technology division. “Other tools aren’t building a foundational platform. Braincube structures the data to help us visualize what’s actually going on in a way that’s a leading indicator, not something that’s already happened.”

Access to real-time time data enables Owens Corning to avoid and prevent problems rather than simply stating why a problem occurred in the past. The ability to conduct predictive—and, in most cases, prescriptive—analyses enables the Owen Corning team to work smarter and more efficiently. 

Transforming Daily Management by Empowering Team Leads

Braincube’s platform and data outputs are now used in Owens Corning’s daily morning stand-ups. These meetings include different plant leadership team members, including process engineers and operations leads. By bringing together data from all parts of the production process, Braincube makes it easier for disparate teams to collaborate. Not only do they find solutions to their problems, but they also find common ground and share knowledge across departments and geographies. 

“The teams are able to use the data and make rapid decisions to get an understanding of why something happens. As a result, people are asking to use and learn Braincube. They ask for help when they need to create a calculation or visualize data,” Perlstein said. 

These small changes put the power of data into the hands of employees at every stage of the production process. 

“It’s getting them to think differently about how they’re running systems in the plant,” Perlstein said. “They’re capturing information around the things they’re doing. If they can get data into the historian, they know that they can get it into Braincube and perform an analysis.” 

Perlstein has also seen Owens Corning employees use Braincube for rapid RCAs (Root Cause Analyses). Employees turn towards the data to help them understand why something happened. Braincube Live’s customizable dashboard, enables different users to focus on different parts of the data set, putting the most important information—specific KPIs, daily charts and graphs, etc.—first. 

Improved Maintenance Procedures

Before using Braincube, maintenance teams would go around to each machine, perform assessments and check analyses on mechanical equipment, and dump the data into specialized software programs. The software program would tell them if a part wasn’t performing properly or needed repair. This process worked but required a lot of steps and time. 

“We can see that there’s a relationship between certain variables in Braincube. It helps us perform predictive maintenance,” said Chris Jackson, Director of Process Stability at Owens Corning. “We just look at the data in Braincube and say, ‘Ok, when we see this happen, we know we’ve got a problem.’ It’s as simple as that.” 

This change empowers the maintenance team to work proactively rather than wait for something to go wrong. Additionally, since data is fed to them in real-time, mechanics will no longer need to go around to each machine performing manual assessments for a specialized software program. With Braincube, the data lives together, seamlessly, under one umbrella. 

Democratized Data and Culture Shifts

Owens Corning has found Braincube incredibly useful at making data accessible to employees at every level within the company. Making data legible and available to everyone results in greater collaboration between engineers and operators.

“Braincube is helping democratize the use of the data,” Perlstein said. “When people are making decisions, others can correlate the data and understand why a decision is being made. Braincube is bringing data-driven decisions down to the shop floor level and helping people understand the value of data.” 

That’s not to say everyone immediately gravitates towards using the data provided to them by new processes and tools. Change management takes time, especially when processes bridge different departments and teams. Perlstein believes that making data available to everyone means there are plenty of teaching opportunities.

“If people choose to make decisions without data and that decision has a negative impact, they can follow-up and quickly understand why something happened. They can still learn from the data for next time,” Perlstein said.

It’s important that employees are drawn to new tools because they see value in using them; pushing tools or processes onto teams will likely cause tension and make implementation difficult. However, as they learn how to use more data in their role, their jobs may become easier. Ultimately, these teachable moments educate teams about how to improve performance. 

About

A global leader in insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composite materials, Owens Corning has approximately 19,000 employees working at over 100 global production facilities in 33 countries.

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