Interview with Ivan Sergeev technical director of the company AVATRI on the subject of experience in the implementation of EPLAN platform.
- Ivan, can you please introduce the company AVATRI, its core competencies and position in the automation market.
- At the moment, our business consists of a group of companies: Technopark Automation and AVATRI. Technopark is a distributor working with the partners' service - Phoenix Contact, Rittal, Siemens. AVATRI is an engineering company that not only develops documentation, but also manages and configures system automation, as well as life support systems for buildings, security systems, video surveillance, fire alarms, etc. The company is equipped with an assembly area where electrical boards and automation panels of any complexity are manufactured. As part of AVATRI's portfolio, there are standard electrical products - automatic firefighting equipment, and terminal boxes; Tomsk subdivision, in alliance with SibMash company, produces drives for large diameter valves SOCRAT, at a factory a technical part is produced and AVATRI produces the control unit. In connection with import substitution business began to develop. Initially 200 valves were sold per year, now - 200 per month are sold. AVATRI is a nominee for CJSC "Tander" - the owner / operator of "Magnit" retail chain. They are reliable partners of the largest hotel chains, as well as business centers, airports for automation and building safety systems. Almost all the large, significant facilities of Ekaterinburg - the skyscraper Vysotsky, the Hyatt hotel, the residence of the presidential envoy, the exhibition center "Ekaterinburg-Expo", the cargo terminal Koltsova, etc. - are the result of AVATRI 's work. On the international market, the 'Mall of Iran' project in Tehran - designed by Norr a Canadian company - is one of the largest shopping and entertainment centers in the Middle East. It is the largest project in the world to use Siemen's equipment for buildings. The total construction footprint is 2 million m2 consisting of: 20,000 parking spaces, 600 boutiques, 2 five-star hotels, plus an adjacent territory with lakes and fountains. AVATRI is a contractor for building engineering systems (Building Management System).
- What stages did you have to go through to build an effective model for designing and engineering automation projects?
- I have worked for AVATRI company for 4 years, as a technical director, previously having worked at UMMC (Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company) in the automation department, where there was a need to organize design work. A group was formed to select the CAD for documentation development, which compared the existing CAD systems - CADDY ++, E3.Series, Compass and EPLAN by different criterion. As a result, a pilot project was issued, training was completed and the first licenses were purchased - Electric P8 and PPE version 1.9. AVATRI mastered the EPLAN platform, it being the best interface for the task at hand in Russia. In 2005, EPLAN licenses were purchased by AVATRI. At that time, there were two departments in the company: the design and implementation department with a clear division of laborers from designers who carried out design documentation for the boards, and engineers who did all the rest of the working documentation - general data, layouts, functional diagrams - all this was done in Autocad, and the shields themselves in EPLAN. Each designer had his own template and product base. In 2013, the software was updated to the current version, and a lot of work was done to standardize - building the "bricks" on which the work in EPLAN: frames, forms, products and macros is based.
Firstly, I shifted the emphasis in the designer's workflow from the documentation to the design and working I reformatted and expanded the professional area to design, instead of only the work of the engineer. In addition, the engineers of the 'implementation team' formulated project tasks for developers. This interface between the two departments is currently formalized. The Chief Project Engineer and Heating and Ventilation Engineer, having received the task, ratified it in the form of several documents. Of particular note is the performance of system architecture of the project and forming a list of system objects. The system architecture is a basic document in which design and automation objects are defined. For example, ventilation control panels, electrical substation control, etc. The Chief Project Engineer selects the technical solution, breaking it down into the main constituent elements. After that, each object of design and automation is formalized in the arrangement of a standard form's questionnaire, thus it specifies the task for the developer and provides all the initial data in the form of a structured technical assignment. This provides a significant reduction in risks by eliminating unnecessary tasks, encouraging the engineer to gather more data, to interact with the client, providing opportunities to work with the customer in a completely different cultural framework.
Thus, the qualitative initialization of the task leaves a trace in the form of a document (which can also be agreed with the customer); otherwise there is a big risk of stalling, non-compliance with the budget of the project, and other troubles. It is at the preliminary stage of the project that it is important to correctly assess the technical scope of the task, to draw up a specification of equipment and work towards an accurate budget assessment, since we do turn-key projects. If the terms of the task have been changed for the customers, the new audit can be compared with the previous one and the customer who himself takes part in completing the questionnaires automatically takes responsibility for the changes, including the possible increase in costs for the project. Based on the questionnaire, a shield code is generated - a sequence of digits that integrates all the settings that the engineer has made. When designing this or that shield, we add it to our EPLAN Solution Database. When designer receives an order, he generates this code in the process of filling out the questionnaire, compares it with the ones available in the database, and sees the degree of coincidence. Then it can modify the most similar, or at 100% coincidence, take it from the database and copy it to the target project. The finalization of the project leads to the creation of a new version in the base of the shields. As a result, the more we work, the more the database of solutions is filled, and thus we work less.
- What is the fastest real economic effect you could get by using EPLAN?
- There was a problem with the products, because each designer had his own product base. We have a warehouse in Yekaterinburg, including a minimum balance; we need to form it in accordance with the needs. The common denominator, the range of brands, within the brands of the applied types at the level of the registered numbers was summed up. Technical solutions with certain products were decorated in the form of macros. All this led to the optimization of the warehouse and the simplification of logistics. We can also isolate the set of equipment from the project that is needed to complete the stage, rather than buying equipment for the entire project and thereby optimizing its budget calendar and logistics costs.
- Is there integration of design processes with the enterprise management system?
- With the participation of EPLAN employees, a seamless engineering strategy was developed, covering a basic and detailed stage. As a basic accounting tool, the company uses the 1C system. Migration of data from the EPLAN project through Excel and import into 1C is already established, this allows seamlessly registering orders and orders for the purchase of equipment and for the production of shields. As part of the project, we also have construction, installation, programming, PNR and within the framework of the seamless engineering concept our next step is the integration of these works into the general process through common documents. From the EPLAN project, we can provide information in the volume of big data within the framework of the Industry 4.0 concept and can generate the necessary documents for both process management (for example, progress tables, checklists for testing), and for reporting, orders, calculations and statistics. When the documentation is "drawn" in traditional CAD, then according to the developed drawings you can only build, but you cannot manage the project, but now this is an out-of-date approach.
- What opportunities does an effectively built engineering system for the enterprise's economy give?
- Project management is centralized in our company, including common macros, products, frames and forms-everything are stored on the server, and only certain people have access to editing, while others can simply use them. There was a case when a new person came to the company who was unfamiliar with EPLAN, we gave him a description, software, project template and instruction - and he designed the cabinet from scratch in two days without questions. This indicates that our current level is high-tech engineering, which is based not on primitives, but on ready-made solutions, and the main thing here is to teach a person to use this technology, without having to spend time again on inefficient design of the element diagrams. In addition, due to such technologies, it is possible to reduce the required level of competencies for an employee capable of performing such work, accordingly it is possible to use cheaper workers to perform it, and more experienced ones can be used for responsible tasks.
The main economic effect is achieved by integration. We configure the project in Preplanning. Next, the schemas are generated automatically based on the finished macros. As for electrical circuit diagrams, we use typical macros up to 90% of cases, the improvements are mainly related to the application of solutions on new controllers or for non-standard tasks. In Fieldsy