ALMA's software for production use at Kotkan Energia

ALMA Consulting Oy's software is part of a wider ERP reform of Kotkan Energia, which includes ALMA's maintenance system, inventory, purchasing and document management, mobile work control, and electronic logbook. ERP reform replaced the energy group's decades-old system. The supplier is also actively involved in the further development of software.

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Kotkan Energia Oy is a company owned by the City of Kotka. Kotka Energia Group comprises the parent company Kotkan Energia Oy and the subsidiaries Karhu Voima Verkko Oy and Karhu Voima Palvelu Oy and the associated company Karhu Voima Oy. The Group employs more than 100 people working in several different locations and subsidiaries. At the start of the ERP project, the Group had dozens of different information systems, and some of them had reached the end of their life cycle.

"We wanted a maintenance and financial management system that serves the whole group. The project included energy production, district heating and electricity grids, industrial services and the material management and storage of the entire Group. The system also supports customer invoicing for work," says Financial Manager Anne Kujala. She has worked as a Project Manager at Kotkan Energia's renewal project information system since its inception, i.e., from autumn 2016 onwards.

A modern, easy to use and flexible solution

When such major reform is carried out, there is a need to prepare for it carefully. The objectives of the project must be very clear so that the outcome of the tendering of IT system suppliers will certainly be the very best system.

"ALMA was the most suitable system for the Kotkan Energia Group covering all the features we needed. Now we have one integrated system in the Group that has helped rid ourselves of many of our outdated and overlapping systems. ALMA's solution is modern, easy to use and flexible. We can also add new features to it as the needs arise," says Jari Mäkelä, Chief of Maintenance at Kotkan Energia. He has been actively involved in the information system reform, especially with regard to its maintenance system.

Maintenance is constantly on the rise

When the Kotkan Energia Group has a common system in use, it is known almost in real-time what is going where.

"All of our maintainers now have more uniform and more mobile working methods. Also, the technical information of the equipment with the spare parts and documentation clusters and service history is better than the previous one for all maintenance personnel in the system," continued Mäkelä.

According to Mäkelä, the change in the information system created good conditions for the continuous development of the maintenance of Kotkan Energia. The system can be developed according to the company's changing needs.

Better customer service

According to Anne Kujala, the biggest benefits of the new information system are that all people in the group now use the same system. Many things are much easier than ever now the Group's operating and working methods have been harmonized. Customers receive the same high-quality service regardless of where and with whom they are doing business.

"For example, bug reports are now processed in the same system, so information is immediately available to all our installers. In terms of material purchases, we know in real time what materials are available and what needs to be ordered," says Kujala.

Utilizing ALMA for weekly meetings

Weekly meetings of powers plants use of Alma’s reports. The ALMA system delivers a real-time logbook with bug reports of the plant's events.

"Hours spent working can be included in the new system through subscription. The material costs used for the work as well as the costs of the outsourcing work are also logged. Events are recorded in the system almost in real-time, making the information up-to-date and quickly available to everyone," says Kujala.

The system will also develop in the future

The introduction of the ALMA information system was officially launched in early November 2017. However, some of the Group's staff have been using the system for much longer. During the project, new development needs have emerged, some of which have already been implemented.

"We are now bringing together the development needs of this project, and we are planning to follow up on them. We are discussing the development proposals in a regularly developing working group. Based on the discussion held there, we look at what new features will be introduced in the system. With a very confident mind, we look to the future," says Kujala.

Despite the extent of its broadness, the implementation of the system has really worked well in cooperation with the supplier. Users have also adopted the system for their own daily use.

Neste Engineering Solutions uses ALMA in even its most challenging instrumentation and automation projects

Neste Engineering Solutions Ltd and ALMA have worked in cooperation for 20 years. Together they have fine-tuned operating methods and solutions to ensure that they fulfill customers’ needs. The shutdowns at the production plant in Neste Porvoo are a good example of ALMA at its best.

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Neste Engineering Solutions is a solution provider that specializes in particularly demanding instrumentation and automation projects. All its operations require a strong safety and quality culture.

Heimo Heikkilä, a specialist working in Information Management Operations explains that the key elements are the designing of safe plants and influencing the safety and smoothly-flowing work of employees. ALMA provides excellent help in this. ALMA’s usefulness and the strength of the cooperation between the partners is clear in the shutdowns of Neste Porvoo’s production plants. Shutdown and its planning involves years of work, with hundreds of simultaneous sub-projects. It takes place every five years, and lasts for about five weeks.

“The process involves surveys for making basic plans, further defining these plans, and finally detailed plans for the actual shutdown. This requires a comprehensive system, in which everything is controlled and readily at hand. The last time, in 2015, ALMA had about 70 users. The number of licenses was slightly less, but we were easily able to temporarily obtain the required additional amount. It is important in long, demanding project procedures that everything works and that we receive 100% support from our supplier. When preparing for the shutdown, the plant constantly has other lifecycle-related needs: for example, revision control and the renewal of products and their scheduling,” says Heikkilä.

By choosing the right methods for managing and maintaining information, the organization can anticipate and reduce the project’s potential risks.

“The significance of growing automation and the increasingly intelligent documentation of process control and maintenance is constantly rising. For this reason too, ALMA has been the right choice for us. When we were looking for a planning system in the mid 1990s, one which is supported by the supplier, we found ALMA. Over the years, our cooperation has grown stronger and we are thrilled with how innovatively ALMA develops both the system and the operations of the whole organization.”

Neste Engineering Solutions uses ALMA globally 

“Neste Engineering Solutions has chosen ALMA as its internal tool for different projects. It will also be expanded to electrical engineering. We have already carried out projects intelligently using digital solutions for a long time. We prioritize the management of our network, in which we focus on high quality and above all, a safe end result from the customer’s perspective. This is why we trust ALMA”, says Heimo Heikkilä.

Neste Engineering Solutions Oy was previously known as Neste Jacobs Oy. The name was changed as of January 1, 2018. 

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Text: Tia Härkönen / Photo: Neste

 

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.