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.
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
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.
New, intelligent life-cycle information management from the beginning of the project - Case: Raahen Voima
When Raahen Voima Oy's new power plant was first switched on, the maintenance unit of the plant had already in their use all the information needed of the plant's life-cycle.
The tool in this revolutionary method was ALMA Consulting's integrated ALMA® maintenance management system, which was able to receive and combine all formats of the technical data used by the different system providers.
The new Finnish Raahen Voima Oy power plant, located next to the Raahe steel factory, is highly modern and advanced. This new boiler plant uses the blast furnace and coke gases — created as a by-product of the steel production — as its energy source for power generation. The operating efficiency of the power plant meets the highest technical demands of the iron and steel industry. The maintenance management system of the plant was also executed with an exceptional model.
All information needed for the plant’s maintenance was already fed to the new ALMA Consulting Oy’s ALMA® system during the plant’s construction. This ensured that the maintenance unit already had all the information available when the power plant was first launched in the summer 2016.
“Even though this may seem very simple, most of the projects are not executed in a similar manner. Usually, the data is gathered from several different systems for the maintenance people after the project. It often takes years for all the needed information from the project to be integrated into the system and for the maintenance staff to use,” says Niko Pahkala, ALMA Consulting Oy’s Operations Director.
Intelligent Integration Platform
During the project, data collection was enabled by ALMA® system’s ability to act as an intelligent integration platform,
”Our system is able to receive and process all the technical information, not just documents but also complete information elements. The machine information cards for maintenance are created also already during the project.” In addition to data collection, the system can also combine the data from multiple machines into reasonable information, “For example, the technical information of a pump is enriched with other necessary details, such as its electricity source, its physical location, and its monitoring.”
The linkages of information also reveal possible errors,
“A lot of mistakes on the surfaces can be eliminated. The system tells if there is, for example, false or contradictory information in the pipeline identification,” says Pekka Mäyrä, client's ALMA user.
All Data in One Place
Data collection during the project demands a new kind of operational model,
“Often, the co-suppliers of the technical systems cannot provide the documentation in the format the customer’s maintenance system would require. Thus, the information needs to be adjusted into compatible format, afterwards.”
“As ALMA is a very adaptive system, it can receive and process information in all formats the suppliers are using.”
Niko Pahkala is very satisfied with the way information management can now be executed,
“All the data created during the project can be delivered to the customer intelligently in the right format and are well-organized.”
Exact Information Leads to Cost Reductions
The working method ALMA Consulting is using in their information management is taking into consideration the whole life-cycle of the plant,
“It needs to be remembered that the information system is used by dozens of different people over time. Now the information is available in one location for everybody.”
Pahkala estimates that comprehensive and accurate information pool will bring significant cost savings over the years,
“When the needed information is immediately available, the maintenance and repair is faster and more efficient, work planning is more accurate, and shutdowns can be prevented and shortened. Shutdowns are critical hours leading to expensive bills, but the situation can be significantly improved if the information is easily accessed. All in all, unnecessary work can be reduced the next 20 years,” Pahkala concludes.
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.
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