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VB Elnät chooses Master concept to create a central holding register
Many energy companies have gradually and slowly discovered that the difference between the plant’s actual appearance and what the documentation says, is increasing. At the same time, more and more information about the facilites is missing. At the same time, the authorities are placing higher demands on control and inspections. The complexity of the facilities is increasing and the suppliers offer more and more services and intelligence in their products.
VB Elnät with 17 employees are responsible for region and local network in Ludvika, Smedjebacken and Fagersta. In 2015, they decided to address the issue. Arne Löv, who is station manager at VB Elnät, saw the problem.
” If we do nothing, it will be increasingly difficult and more expensive to maintain and manage the facilities. We cannot take advantage of the new opportunities that exist and we will not be able to hire the best staff. Young people want to work with computers, not with paper and designes that do not correspond to reality, which increases the risk of personal injury and damage to the facility. When the older staff retire, a lot of knowledge that is not documented will disappear,” says Arne.
“Therefore, in 2015, we decided to create a central plant register in El-nät, which in the long term should contain all information and all documents. Not only Word, PDF and Excel documents but also all designes, all information about the facilities objects such as time settings, PLC software, etc.,” continues Arne.
New IT support
Many documents are common to several facilities objects and when a maintenance work is carried out, it affects many documents, designes and much information. Then it is difficult to ensure that you have updated everything if they are saved in a classic file tree.
“Therefore, we also realized that it was better to save them linked to the facilities objects, namely in an object-oriented database, instead of a classic filter-tree-based document management system,” says Arne.
Following customary procurement, Master concept was chosen from IDES in Linköping as a technical platform. The solution, which has been around for about 20 years, was originally developed for the nuclear power industry. It has now been packaged, both technically and economically, to suit small and medium-sized energy companies.
VB Energi is a small energy company that does not count on any major projects in the foreseeable future. Then there are two ways to implement this project. Either all paper-borne information is scanned, while all text is interpreted, primarily on the drawings. Or you can move all documentation gradually, as you carry out minor refurbishments and maintenance.
“At VB Energi we chose a gradual introduction,” says Arne.
“At the same time, one must not forget that the project is not only an IT project but also a change project that involves introducing new routines. New better IT support without new routines gives no better order,” explains Arne.
How is it going?
“We have had the solution since November 2015 and have come a long way. Working in Master concept is intuitive and since we now have a clear structure and know what we want, it is also easier to make demands on the suppliers. Although the larger suppliers do not always accept our requirements. We will also buy up a new supplier of maintenance and that then have a good order should give lower costs, ”says Arne.
“It is still a filter tree structure, but the object orientation is more intuitive when searching and updating information. This means that we can now go crosswise i.e. start with an object and then search for electrical drawings, documentation, protocols, other information and in the long term drawings based on the object. And not have to jump into the filter tree’s different folders. We have a full version control and know that we update a document / drawing so this document / information is updated for all the objects concerned,” says Arne.
And the challenges?
“ To gradually introduce new routines means that users must live with two routines, the new and the old and changing people’s behavior is always a challenge. If we do not start to fix our documents now, it will only get worse in the future,” concludes Arne.