Silkeborg Utility has merged two maintenance systems into one with SERTICA. SERTICA Maintenance now manages maintenance for both the combined heat and power plant and the district heating supply. In the long term, this will apply to wastewater treatment and water supply as well.
By Joel Goodstein
Silkeborg Utility has merged two maintenance systems into one with SERTICA. SERTICA Maintenance now manages maintenance for both the combined heat and power plant and the district heating supply. “In connection with the power plant and the district heating plant merging into one company, it was decided that a joint maintenance system was to be implemented to replace the previous systems. Today, we use SERTICA Maintenance for the district heating plant and, in the long run, also the water supply and the waster water plant can use it for maintenance tasks,” explains Maintenance Engineer Jørgen Holm Madsen.
The most important requirement of the new maintenance system has, therefore, been that it must be easy and self-evident to use for the staff in the merged company. There has also been a requirement that it must be able to be used at more than one address because Silkeborg Utility has plants in several different locations.
“SERTICA Maintenance has a very attractive user interface and it is also very important that the system can support our plant hierarchy. At our power plant alone we have around 3,500 components in the system, so it’s critical that we can establish the required levels for it to support our maintenance as best as possible,” says Jørgen Holm Madsen. Some plants have up to 10 levels from top to bottom, which, for instance, may be a signal giver. It is also important that suppliers can feed technical data about their solutions into SERTICA Maintenance. This can be done by the supplier delivering data in a pre-defined spreadsheet, which is then fed in via an import function in SERTICA.
The user experience is critical to whether the system is used in an optimum fashion when tasks are to be established, data is to be updated or if information is to be searched for and found.
“You built your data in SERTICA Maintenance following a tree structure similar to, for instance, Windows. Overall, the system is built in a graphical, logical and intuitive way. You can use shortcuts or you can search based on various criteria, including free text. The main thing is that you can easily find the relevant data, even though there are several thousand components in the system,” says Jørgen Holm Madsen. “Maintenance is basically about knowledge-sharing. This is why it is important that a maintenance system is very user-friendly and that it can be adapted to your company culture. Your company does not need to adapt to the system, and this was one of the reasons why we chose SERTICA Maintenance. We now have a system that’s very user-friendly and flexible, which means we can adapt it to our practice and needs – for instance, printing out job cards,” he adds.
SERTICA Maintenance makes it possible to implement a flexible maintenance effort at the various plants. “We don’t have a uniform maintenance strategy for all our plants. Some of it may be allowed to run until it breaks down and some of it is critical and can only stop when this has been planned. SERTICA Maintenance can be completely adapted to the many different plants that we’ve got,” says Jørgen Holm Madsen. Merging two maintenance systems into one new total system is a great undertaking and Silkeborg Utility has decided to seek help from data experts from the supplier, Logimatic. This has also paid off:
“Data have emerged along the way that we’d no idea was in our possession. It has been ‘hiding’ in the old systems and turned up when it was transferred to SERTICA Maintenance. This was an extra bonus when we moved data from the old systems to the new one,” explains Jørgen Holm Madsen.The unique numbering of plants from the two previous systems has been preserved in the new SERTICA system.
“We haven’t had to compromise on anything, but have transferred everything from our old systems. And now we also have a much better user experience and a very high degree of flexibility compared to the old system, which was a bit complicated and harder to ‘unlock.’ It was also more difficult to make changes to the old system, and errors were hard to get rid of; they tended to linger on,” he adds. “Our previous maintenance systems were marked by having been developed into a large, global concern with a central maintenance office that was responsible for the utilization of the system. We were keen on acquiring a system that would fit our practice, where there is a decentralized delegated responsibility for carrying out and registering maintenance jobs. All technicians and craftsmen who perform the jobs must be able to use the system and update data, and they can do this in SERTICA Maintenance,” says Jørgen Holm Madsen.
It is always possible to make changes in SERTICA Maintenance and also to go back and see what has been changed. If some wrong data are accidentally put into the system, it is possible to go back and correct them. In this way, there is no need to be afraid of doing something wrong. However, the staff has declined the opportunity to be able to delete data – for instance when a plant is closed down.
“We’ve offered the staff to have full rights to the system, but they’ve had no desire to be able to delete data, so we’re a few members of staff who share that responsibility,” says Jørgen Holm Madsen.
In a very flexible system such as SERTICA Maintenance, it may be tempting to make up your own numbering of plants; however, Jørgen Holm Madsen warns against doing that:
“In the power plant we used the standard numbering system called Kraftwerk-Kennzeichen (KKS) and a separate system was used at the district heating plant. We have been able to convert the data from these two systems into SERTICA Maintenance without any problems. Still, I do advise using a generally approved and well-tested numbering system to stay on the safe side,” says Jørgen Holm Madsen.
Silkeborg Utility has received a very good support from Logimatic. “Contrary to our previous suppliers, we feel that Logimatic handles our suggestions well for developing and improving the system. A specific member of staff at Logimatic is responsible for receiving our suggestions and handing them to their developers. This function is handled by a ‘User Experience Consultant,’ and she’s actually offered to join a workshop with us to better understand us as users – we’re very pleased with that! Our previous supplier wasn’t very interested in receiving suggestions for improvements; we felt it was ‘take it or leave it.’ You might say that everything was possible in the old system, but you had to pay for changes and these changes subsequently had to be maintained through updates, etc. This was very costly. Fortunately, Logimatic’s attitude is much more constructive; you clearly sense that their drive is the user experience”, says Jørgen Holm Madsen.
"Maintenance is basically about knowledge-sharing. This is why it is important that a maintenance system is very user-friendly and that it can be adapted to your company culture. Your company does not need to adapt to the system, and this was one of the reasons why we chose SERTICA Maintenance. We now have a system that’s very user-friendly and flexible, which means we can adapt it to our practice and needs."