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 started in summer 2016, and the new system was implemented in late 2016.

 

Text: Tia Härkönen
Picture: Kuopion Energia



 

Helen relies on ALMA in the Mustikkamaa district heat storage project

The energy group Helen is building under Mustikkamaa, Helsinki, the largest in Finland district heat storage facility using tap water. The data system delivered by ALMA is used to facilitate the designing process and support the cooperation project. It is a system that runs in real time, is mobile and can be quickly updated should the situation change, but also at different stages throughout the project’s life span.

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The caverns under Helsinki’s Mustikkamaa were originally built in 1982 for storing oil. For years these caverns have been empty, but soon they will be used to hold 260,000 cubic metres of district heat energy. With the heat stored in the caverns Helen will be able to adjust their heat generation, and thus save around one million litres worth of fossil fuels.

"ALMA’s data system links the parties cooperating in this heat storage facility project with each other. The data produced in the project with the use of ALMA is centralised, which means that customers, designers and subcontractors all know in real time how the project is progressing", says the project manager Pekka Salimäki, who for 10 years has been involved in Helen’s design and project ventures in different capacities.

The objective is the digital facility model generated with ALMA

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"245","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"264","style":"font-size: 13.008px; width: 440px; height: 264px; float: left;","width":"440"}}]]Helen first implemented ALMA’s data system in an extensive modernisation project carried out in Helsinki’s Salmisaari. There ALMA was used in the automation and on-site engineering process involving a number of power and heat generating facilities in the Salmisaari district. Based on this experience, it was easy to opt for ALMA in the Mustikkamaa project as well. The choice was swayed towards ALMA also because of the references connected with implementation of extensive data management and investment projects, inter alia, with Raahen Voima Oy.

"We are now extending the system, which originated from on-site instrumentation of automatic systems, into a management system, which covers all different areas of a facility’s design process. We shall start with the Mustikkamaa project, which is indeed an exotic project with a unique concept, but is relatively simple in terms of the scope of its process technology. Our ultimate objective is to apply ALMA for building a digital facility model and using it to prepare ourselves for the major investments in plants and development projects in 2020s", says Salimäki.

"At present we are gathering experience through a smaller project, in order to be able in future to handle major projects, covering the entire life span of a facility with less efforts", he summarises.

ALMA's involvement covers the project from the design to the maintenance stage

The Mustikkamaa project is still at its initial stage, and currently the shared system has around 30 users. The project originally started years ago with preliminary planning and concept development, while the specific planning at Mustikkamaa commenced only last spring when the actual implementation project was launched. The cavern heat storage facility will be completed for production use in 2021.

"The benefits produced by ALMA's data system are available throughout the entire project. We have just got the system up and running. Thus it is as if we were creating the foundation for a house on which it is easy to build new storeys and extensions in future", Salimäki describes the situation.

After the Mustikkamaa engineering and construction project is completed, it is intended to continue using the ALMA data system for the running of the facility.

Even large data volumes flow effortlessly

Salimäki commends ALMA for its excellent version management features, as well as for the fact that sharing of even extremely large volumes of data – such as 3D data models and 360 videos – within the systematic data structures is effortless. Salimäki also gives praise to ALMA’s mobile features and the possibility of integrating the system into other data systems used.

"It is interesting to gather experience about other properties linked with the on-site stage of the system and the benefits they offer. At ALMA the scheduling of work is based on the equipment data produced by the design process, which means that they will not be kept as separate diagrams and rows without any correlation with the reality. This should make the installation stage and monitoring of the commissioning process effortless. The real time nature of the system, as well as the completion of the project without separate and work-intensive documentation stage are also seen as considerable benefits. Sharing of any information is swift and smooth, and e-mail boxes will not be filled with documents that are difficult to revise", he adds.

"Moreover, ALMA hears the wishes of their clients. Through their support services we have been provided quick advice, and new features of the system have been delivered to us without undue delays."

Telia’s massive data centre uses ALMA for its maintenance

Telia opened the largest telecommunication centre Helsinki Data Centre (HDC) in June 2018. The data system supplied by ALMA facilitates efficient documentation necessary for HDC, its maintenance and repair ticketing, reporting and use of training materials, and serves as a support for running financial matters of the facility.

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Telia HDC, situated at Helsinki’s Pitäjänmäki, is an open data centre, which means that any company or association may bring their servers to tap into its high-speed telecommunication links. This is the feature that sets HDC apart from many other large data centres. The equipment pool of large data centres often caters only to certain organisations or their individual network services.

"Such a larger facility and its equipment base need a reliable maintenance system, which provides all necessary information easily and in real time. We chose ALMA to provide this service, because this is where we found exactly the system that we wanted. ALMA’s price/quality ratio is also spot on, and moreover, ALMA’s Finnish pedigree was another a benefit in comparison with its international competitors", says Petteri Hellsten, Telia HDC Facilities Manager.

Security, speed and reliability

Helsinki and Pitäjänmäki were selected as the location for Telia HDC due to security consideration, and good fibre connections. There are no major geopolitical risks in Scandinavia and in Finland, and neither do earthquakes pose threat to the delicate equipment located here.

"Particular attention has been paid to security of Telia HDC. Thus, its level of security satisfies the requirements of a high-level security standards. Moreover, the service ALMA provides for us has been swift, efficient and secure. We at Telia HDC see ALMA as one of the key strategic partners", admits the head of the data centre construction project Juha Ekman of Telia Finland.

Telia HDC’s location in Helsinki is also essential in terms of environmental benefits. Heat generated by servers is not actually lost, instead Fortum can use it in their own district heat generation process.

Development is ongoing

Around 30 persons use ALMA’s data system in Telia HDC. The system facilitates the management and maintenance of the facility, but thanks to ALMA the thousands of units and systems in HDC can be documented to become parts of the integrated whole. Furthermore, efficient use of the maintenance calendar, as well as fast repair and maintenance ticketing of equipment are additional benefits offered by ALMA’s data system to Telia HDC.

ALMA was first commissioned in Telia HDC as early as in April of 2018, i.e. a couple of months before the official launch of the centre. The experience of Telia HDC’s staff with the use of ALMA have been positive.

"We are currently developing and tailoring the content of ALMA to make it even better. We continuously gather the best practices related with the system. They are then used to adjust and modify ALMA such that it could meet our needs even better", says Hellsten.

Telia HDC is also looking for possibilities to implement ALMA’s new applications and solutions in future. These include, inter alia, applications connected with planning and project management, as well as documentation of spare parts. It is intended to take the decisions extending the system in the spring of 2019.

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.

Vitec ALMA 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. 



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