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.
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 Now we have one integrated system in the Group that has helped rid ourselves of many of our outdated and overlapping systems.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.
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.
Text: Tia Härkönen / Photo: Neste
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.
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.
According to Niko Pahkala from Vitec ALMA, reliable asset management ensures that the company’s assets critical from the viewpoint of production are in good condition throughout its entire life cycle.
Tuomas Känsäkoski, Product Development Engineer, is engaged in development of Vitec ALMA’s services and maintains our customers’ servers. Känsäkoski’s tasks also include automation of his duties to the maximum extent possible.
Hannu Raudasoja has worked for Vitec ALMA Oy for more than three decades. Hannu’s praiseworthy career encouraged ALMA to apply for the award of the Medal of the White Rose of Finland to him.