SSAB trusts on ALMA with life-cycle management of Raahe Works

ALMA is a key factor of business-critical processes and tasks in the Raahe Works.

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SSAB Europe's Raahe Works is a long-time customer of ALMA and class of its own in users. The system is used in all departments of the factory. ALMA has received praise in particular that the issues and documents in one place, and that information is always up to date. Today, the number of users in Raahe is closer to 500 and external desingers there are about 100.

The dimension is huge: there are technical drawings more than 600.000 sets of documents and a total of one million. The system contents is also wild: positions are to be more than a million, cables around 250.000 and internal wires more than 6.5 million, for example.

So ALMA is not just a design tool, but an important source of information for upkeep and maintenance in Raahe Works.

Project management and maintenance were improved significantly

The ALMA® knowledge management system is based on modern applications especially suitable for distributed operations in engineering and maintenance. The efficient database management and the browser-based user interface are due to ensure easy, user friendly and agile operation of the system. Additionally the system is easily expandable. 

Since ALMA is carried out using modern technology, it is ideal for design and maintenance activities.

"Maintenance is grateful that all information and documentation is up to date and can now be found from one location. This enables the development of practices and routine work. The administration service offered by ALMA Consulting has been proved to be an effective solution for maintaining the vast system and its everyday tasks", Mr. Pekka Mäyrä from ALMA Consulting Ltd conveys greetings of SSAB Europe. 

Kuopion Energia required a single system to handle everything maintenance-related

Documentation was hard to find, placing work orders was difficult, and the user experience was rigid. These were the issues that prompted the update of Kuopion Energia’s maintenance system, which will now cover the entire Group. All management is now harmonised and accessible through ALMA.

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For a long time already, Kuopion Energia had acknowledged the need to harmonise maintenance systems, for the business operations of power grids, district heating and energy production. In practice, the situation was such that two of the units had reached the end of the road with the old system, and one unit did not have a system in use at all.

“We had a specific need for a new system in the energy production branch. The old system worked for some things, but in other aspects, it was very impractical. We also needed the new system to be very user-friendly, as it wasn’t always possible to find what you were looking for on the old system – at least not very quickly.  For the past 10 years, we have invested extensively in the power plant, and there have been a lot of modern projects. All of their documentation is in electronic format. The old system was obtained in the 1990s, when it was still very much a world of paper. That has also put us in a difficult position,” said Markus Laukkanen, the maintenance manager of the Haapaniemi power plant. 

Clear vision about the project – a successful result

As the mass of electronic documentation increased, Kuopio started having earnest discussions about the need for an update. The end result was that the new joint maintenance system would include three business branches, and it must include stock and material management as well as mobile functions, and the required commissioning services and integrations with other group systems.

One of the most significant cornerstones for the success of this project was systematic groundwork and needs analysis. It also helped with choosing a supplier: in the end, it was almost self-evident that it would be ALMA.

“We did a thorough requirement specification and overview. There were several supplier candidates, and we had more specific discussions with a few of them. It became clear quite quickly that ALMA understood us the best, and they were able to offer solutions that were perfect for us. They also kept discussing the details of the new systems with us, so that it would cover everything the field workers would need. They aren’t using desktop computers out there”, the ICT manager Jami Miettinen and Markus Laukkanen both stated.

Miettinen admitted that on the group-level, this project was IT-driven.

“We were looking for the complete package – that the servers and the terminals would work well, and that everything could have easy maintenance, and that information security issues would be dealt with. The district heating and power grid operations cover a large area. Likewise, the power plant is a huge area. The new system has to be suitable for all of them. The ease of the implementation was also very important!”

Getting things done, even after the project has ended

The project has now progressed to the normal operation stage at Kuopio, and everything is working as it should be. According to the feedback Miettinen has received, using the system is easy, quick and logical. 
He also highlighted how during the first six months of the project implementation, there was plenty of flexibility all around.

“There are always small complications in projects, it’s just a matter of fixing them. However, ALMA kept all of their promises. The worst thing would have been to have to exclude some things we need. As the project progressed, ALMA always found a solution. There was a focus on getting things done. We have also already agreed on future meetings, and that the system will be developed further if we need new features, or if any practical issues have to be solved,” he summarised.

Both men were particularly pleased with the benefit for the entire Group:

"We got a single system with more total users compared to every business branch having its own system.  This makes it a more extensive ecosystem. When there are more users in many units, the system can be developed and grown, to serve the needs of the entire company and of the individual employees better.”

Kuopion Energia’s project with ALMA Consulting Ltd started in summer 2016, and the new system was implemented in late 2016.


Text: Tia Härkönen / Picture: Kuopion Energia


LKAB chose ALMA as its partner

Alma Consulting Oy provides as a service for LKAB the conversion of instruments and e-documentation at the two pelletization plants.

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LKAB and Alma Consulting Oy have signed a contract for the conversion of instruments and e-documentation at the KK4 and KA3 pelletization plants. The existing Smartplant documentation will be converted to a format compatible with LKAB’s document management system. This is intended to achieve a more cost-effective, user-friendly, and reliable documentation method for the project.

According to Project Director Ola Paganus, “LKAB has invested a lot in recent years and will continue to do so in the future, too. We need new suppliers and partner organisations and ALMA Consulting Oy has already demonstrated its expertise by carrying out a pilot project at the beginning of the year.”

“This project is important from the point of view of our market penetration in Sweden and in the mining sector in general. The cooperation with LKAB has been really smooth and we’re delighted to be able to deliver the project”, reports Director Niko Pahkala.

Both companies are looking forward to continuing their collaboration on future projects. ALMA Consulting Oy’s own patented ALMA system is central to the project.

According to Project lead engineer Janne Mäkinen, “this efficient and innovative system is a key factor in effective project work and it allows us to work in a mistake-free way as well as produce high quality.”

Information is everything.

Information and know-how are your assets. Do you know who uses them and for what?

The ALMA® system ensures that the invaluable information and know-how generated over the plant’s lifecycle is not lost to the organisation. Instead, it will be stored in a single system and be available on a real-time basis to all who need it.

ALMA Consulting Oy Ltd offers a full range of software services from commissioning and development to maintenance, support and training. ALMA® is registered trade mark and it has been in the market since 1986.