ALMA brings winds of change to Helen’s power and automation maintenance
The power company Helen Oy is focusing on long-term and comprehensive solutions for information management at its existing and future production facilities. This was emphasised also when they were selecting a partner for their information management project. ALMA proved to be successful.
Helen is one of the largest power companies in Finland, offering new energy solutions. Its innovative energy solutions have been awarded as the most efficient in the world, and the company has nearly 400,000 customers throughout Finland. The company produces electricity and district heating in its power plants in Vuosaari, Hanasaari and Salmisaari.
Developing the company’s business operations has always been important, and there have been plenty of innovations. That is true even now, as digitisation has created the need to focus on and improve production facility information management and relevant information management processes.
When the old ways no longer work
For Helen, the impulse towards a better management of technical information and lifespan started from problems with the overall management of information.
If our own competent staff is telling us that changes should be made to the operational and working models of our automation processes, we can’t just brush it aside. It was also clear that as far as technical information management was concerned, the documentation could do with much greater precision. Not everyone who needed to access the information was able to, and finding the right information took way too much time, said Panu Oksman, Development Manager.
First, the power and automation maintenance information from the A and B facility at Salmisaari, Helsinki, was recorded. A lot of the source material was incorrect, and not all previous amendments were visible. People were having to look for files from scratch, because they did not know exactly where to find what they were looking for.
Well, it was a bit difficult. In maintenance and servicing situations, it has been anything but sensible, because the information was entered into the system retrospectively. It wasn’t really possible to talk about real-time information at that point, Oksman stated.
A strong life-cycle of technical information management is an advantage to everyone
With ALMA, Helen moved on to completely new kinds of working methods and documentation. Now, all information can be entered into the system while things are being done. There is no need for separate stages, and all works and records have a consistent rhythm. Future maintenance works will also be recorded directly in ALMA.
This results in significant implications on the use of time, and work speeding up. Any new information is available immediately, and can be promptly shared with all parties: with our own employees, with engineering offices and subcontractors, Oksman listed.
The energy industry is going through big changes, with regard to environmental requirements, the development of electricity prices, and challenges related to energy production for peak consumption periods. These issues have a considerable effect on what information is used to modernise and perform maintenance on a production facility, and how much extra work is necessary for keeping information up to date.
Technical information management plays a key role in the work productivity of those involved with production processes, as well as in achieving the quality, volume and information security of production processes. Many organisations use several applications and various information systems, which does not always make things easier.
ALMA provides a single integrated system even for complicated fields of information, including everything required. The flow of information can be assuredly efficient, safe and fast. In the energy industry, stability and persistence are important factors. ALMA Consulting can also give us a long-term vision of how we can strengthen our information management and relevant practices together, to ensure a great and high-quality end result. This is something we value greatly, Panu Oksman said.
Text: Tia Härkönen
Photos: Tia Härkönen and Helen Oy
Stora Enso's Sunila makes full use of ALMA’s flexibility
ALMA adds efficiency to engineering and maintenance in Sunila plant.
Stora Enso’s Sunila pulp mill combines solid expertise gained over the decades with advanced production solutions, such as the electrical and automation engineering system delivered by ALMA Consulting Oy.
Sunila makes full use of ALMA’s flexibility.
"Our previous system was old and was only serviced and maintained infrequently. When Sunila was taken over by Stora Enso, many changes had to be made to the systems. And because it would’ve been difficult and costly to adapt to Enso’s new systems, we were compelled to look for other alternatives", tells Head of Engineering, Mr. Jukka Henriksson of Empower who is based at the Sunila Mill.
The goal was to find a user-friendly solution that enabled a transition to a more comprehensive electronic documentation system. It would ensure that the information was always up to date and the engineering data easily available to maintenance crews as well.
"We spent a long time looking for a new system and finally opted for the ALMA Engineering System. Aside from the potential offered by the system, ALMA is a domestic supplier with solid references", he says.
ALMA adapts all needs
There were many objectives to be handled like update a large number of documents in connection with the modernisation of the lye line automation system, increase user friendliness by making it possible to access the documents directly from the various terminals.
Mr. Henriksson also wanted to find a solution that allowed maintenance crews to access engineering data quickly and to ensure that the information is up to date.
The ALMA system is used by the Empower staff and its subcontractors Kotka Automation and Etteplan.
"When the system was delivered, the ALMA people migrated the information from the old system to the new one. It went smoothly, even though they had no previous knowledge of the old system", explains Henriksson.
"When the SAP project advances, we will take into use an interface designed and implemented by ALMA Consulting that will automate data transfer between ALMA and SAP. We’ve gained enough experience to date to appreciate the flexibility of ALMA’s functions that allow us to customise the system for in-house needs. ALMA was put to its first acid test when the lye line automation system was upgraded and the old hardcopy documentation was converted into electronic format."
Commissioning in late 2011 was preceded by general operator training. Since then, ALMA’s experts have supported the commissioning process both remotely and here in Sunila.
"All in all, the ALMA system has adapted to our needs quite easily. It really facilitates engineering and maintenance as we can access the data directly from our own terminals. Additionally, the system makes it easier to update and maintain the database used in engineering. Now we’re able to reduce the volume of hardcopy documentation", says Henriksson.
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.
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.
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.
ALMA, which is much used in industrial production plant maintenance, was customized to answer to the needs of Raahepolis as regards, for example, terms and specific property information.
We are on a holiday in July.
ALMA was selected as the implementation tool for electricity and automation field planning in Outotec’s project, which focuses on the pressure oxidation process (POX), a part of gold enrichment.