Manufacturer Saves Time, Enhances Efficiency with Enterprise Content Management

Hexcel, a manufacturer of composite materials and fabrics used in many industries, needed a better system for handling documents like purchase orders and invoices. The company deployed a KnowledgeLake solution that integrates tightly with the Hexcel SharePoint system. The solution makes it much easier for employees to search through and read documents. It also helped Hexcel convert and transmit about 1 million documents stored in legacy systems to a central SharePoint repository.

Business Needs

Founded in 1946, Hexcel is the world’s leading supplier of composite materials and structures for aerospace, wind energy, and niche industrial markets. A global enterprise with more than $1 billion in annual sales, Hexcel has manufacturing sites in the United States, Europe, and China, plus global sales offices and support personnel. Its products can be found in industries and products as diverse as aircraft production, tennis racquets, racing yachts, wind turbine blades, and automobile body parts.



Hexcel manufacturers composite fabrics and other materials used in a broad range of manufacturing processes. The company is based in Stamford, Connecticut.




Stamford, Connecticut, USA



Hexcel produces an enormous number of documents, from technical documentation to customer-related materials such as invoices and packing lists. For years, the company had relied on disparate document managing and imaging systems for its enterprise content management needs, including IBM FileNet, KeyFile, and Documentum.

“These systems were getting old and reaching the capacity of the hardware they were running on,” says Raul Mital, Data Technology Project Leader for Hexcel. “To help our operations, we wanted to find a single system that could handle capturing more than 1,000 documents per day.”

"KnowledgeLake helped us move from out-dated technology to an efficient enterprise content management solution that helps our employees work more effectively."

-Raul Mital, Data Technology Project LeaderHexcel

Mital and a team composed of IT and Business Unit members evaluated different options. Requirements for a new system included ease of deployment for the IT department and ease of use for employees.

The company wanted a solution that would integrate with Microsoft SharePoint technology, which Hexcel had installed in 2001 as the backbone of its corporate intranet. The company also wanted a solution that could help it efficiently migrate about 1 million documents from its old FileNet system.


Hexcel deployed an enterprise content management solution from KnowledgeLake because it would integrate seamlessly with the company’s SharePoint-based intranet and delivered the tools and functionality needed to create a highly efficient enterprise content management system. “We evaluated systems from three other vendors, but they did not have all the functionality we wanted or they did not offer a true enterprise-scale solution,” says Mital. Hexcel used a number of products for the solution, including:

KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint, which is extensible server software that transforms SharePoint into a high-volume production-imaging system.

KnowledgeLake Capture Server, which is used to scan and save documents to SharePoint using networked devices. Hexcel uses the barcode-reading functionality in Capture Server to separate documents and populate index values, and to capture documents from

The KnowledgeLake solution has eliminated the often time-consuming processes of trying to find documents in different document management

“Instead of looking for their documents in three different systems as they did in the past, users can now find the documents they need in one central system, thereby reducing the costs, time, and effort that used to be spent in searches,” Mital says. “Plus the scanning and indexing of documents is very straightforward. The KnowledgeLake solution can validate document index properties by querying existing databases. This allows us to check for valid customer numbers and automatically supply the customer legacy computer systems and from faxed purchase orders received from customers.

KnowledgeLake Connect, which lets Hexcel users scan, index, search, and store documents from inside line-of-business applications, including Microsoft Office documents and Office Outlook e-mails.

Hexcel uses a number of Fujitsu scanners, including the Fujitsu fi-5750C high-speed flatbed scanner; the Fujitsu fi-5530C2, a departmental-level scanner; and the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 desktop scanner.


The KnowledgeLake solution helps Hexcel increase the effectiveness of its enterprise content management. The integration of KnowledgeLake products with SharePoint delivers a shared familiar interface, which simplifies training and daily use of the system. Because SharePoint provides a central, company-wide document repository, it is easy for Hexcel employees to quickly locate systems. Several departments inside Hexcel—including customer service, quality control, shipping, and accounts payable—have seen significant names, reducing the errors and the typing needed to maintain the indexes.”

Efficient Conversion of Legacy Documents

The KnowledgeLake software helped Hexcel manage a huge volume of documents stored on legacy systems, including mainframe and mid-range computer systems. To store the documents on SharePoint, Hexcel first accessed them by writing the documents and their indexes to a network folder using software from Streamserve information. The solution also proved invaluable in converting a huge number of documents from legacy systems.

Easy to Use

The tight integration of KnowledgeLake products with SharePoint is a key reason why Hexcel chose to deploy its current solution instead of going with competing technologies. “The fact that KnowledgeLake captures documents and automatically saves them into SharePoint is a major benefit for Hexcel,” says Mital, noting the mission-critical role that SharePoint plays in the corporate enterprise and the fact that SharePoint is a familiar, daily tool used across the company.

“SharePoint is behind our company intranet and is the central repository for all our documents. Our user base was already familiar with SharePoint, so there was no need to deploy new or different software to search and view documents,” Mital says. “This solution makes it easy for employees to search for documents using the KnowledgeLake components that are integrated into SharePoint.”

Fast Information Searches

productivity gains by using the KnowledgeLake-based enterprise content management system.

“When we decided to deploy the KnowledgeLake Solution, over 90 percent of the documents we needed to capture were in our legacy manufacturing systems,” says Mital. “Once these documents were written to a network folder, KnowledgeLake Capture imported these documents, including the indexing values, to SharePoint. KnowledgeLake helped us move from out-dated technology to an efficient enterprise content management solution that helps our employees work more effectively.”

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