ALMA brings winds of change to Helen’s power and automation maintenance

Technical Documentation & Management
The energy company Helen Oy is developing the information management of its existing and future production facilities in a long-term and comprehensive manner. As a follow-up to its previous acquisitions, in spring 2020, Helen obtained from Vitec ALMA an asset management system for lifecycle technical information management.

A lifecycle technical information management system allows a company or entity to monitor and maintain its equipment, machines and information networks. With the information system, all available information is real-time and available to all persons and departments using the system. The system administrator can assign different roles to users, as well as give subcontractors access to certain information in the system.

Helen is one of the largest energy companies in Finland, with more than 500,000 customers across the country. Helen has a strong and continuously improving product and service business in electricity, heating and cooling, constantly building new solutions related to decentralised energy production, smart housing and electric transportation. Helen’s goal is carbon-neutral energy production by 2035. The company owns and manages a variety of equipment, facilities, machinery, and networks. These are constantly generating new and updated technical information that needs to be shared efficiently between Helen’s own staff and its subcontractors. While Helen is investing heavily in achieving carbon-neutral operations, the company is also investing in its asset management. When assets are well-maintained and used efficiently, it also translates into environmental benefits and a better business result. 


Carbon-neutral projects are in everyone’s best interests

The information system that Vitec ALMA supplied to Helen includes everything that Helen requested in the tender. In terms of asset management, the most important features of the system are document management and a project bank. When these are in the same system, it solves many practical problems related to data transfer and transmission.

We really have a lot of data, and fortunately, the ALMA system has a lot of features. Despite its versatility, the system is user-friendly. It also allows for any future expansion needs we might have. The implementation project has been uncomplicated, and carried out with professionalism, says Kirsi Raami, Head of Energy Production and Asset Management at Helen.

Helen is actively developing production methods that support carbon neutrality and solutions that optimise energy. The new information system is involved in enhancing Helen’s projects that support carbon neutrality, thanks in part to its mobile interface. Project and asset management tasks can be done regardless of the time and place. This reduces unnecessary travel and lowers emissions.

When the old ways no longer work

At Helen, the drive for better management of technical information and life cycle at production facilities was initially induced by problems in general data management.

When our own competent people claim that a change is needed in the operating and work models of our automation, this is not something to be ignored. It was also clear that in regard to technical information management, there was room for improvement in the accuracy of documentation. Not everyone who needed access to information had the access, and far too much time was spent on looking for information, says Panu Oksman, Development Manager.

Electricity and automation maintenance data of the A and B plants at Salmisaari, Helsinki, were the first to be taken over. The source material was inaccurate in many respects, and not all of the changes made earlier had been properly recorded. The materials had to be searched from scratch, since information on their whereabouts was lacking.

It was difficult. In terms of service and maintenance, the operation had been anything but sensible, since the data were input to the system afterwards. It had nothing to do with the concept of real time, Oksman notes.



Strong and extensive life cycle for technical information management

With ALMA, a transfer to an entirely new way of working and documenting took place at Helen. Today, all of the data can be input into the system immediately after generation. There is no need for separate steps and the work and recording proceed at a harmonised pace. Future maintenance jobs are also transferred directly to ALMA.

The impact on the use of time and work acceleration is considerable. All of the data generated are at our disposal right away and are also communicated in a timely manner to all the parties involved: our personnel, design offices, and subcontractors, Oksman points out.

The energy industry is facing major changes amid energy production challenges brought about by environmental emission requirements, electricity price development, and peak consumptions. These matters exert significant influence on which information is used for production plant modernisation and maintenance, as well as on the volume of extra work required for updating the information.

Technical data management is of key importance when it comes to the productivity of the people involved in production processes, and for achieving appropriate production process quality, quantity, and data security. Many organisations use numerous solutions and different information systems, which do not necessarily make life easier.

ALMA offers a single integrated system that includes everything you need even for complicated information islands. The flow of information can be ensured efficiently, securely and quickly. For the energy industry, continuity and long-term approach are important. ALMA is also prepared to offer us a long-term vision on how we could strengthen our information management and the related functions together so as to achieve a good and high-quality outcome. We appreciate this, says Panu Oksman.

Text: Tia Härkönen

Photos: Tia Härkönen and Helen Oy