One of the biggest challenges facing the global agricultural industry today is the escalating demand for potash. The Mosaic Company (www.mosaicco.com), one of the world’s leading producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, is currently engaged in a long term potash capacity expansion plan. In this growing economy, the challenge facing the engineers at Mosaic’s Esterhazy mining operation, is how to manage, track and share the growing numbers of drawings and documents that are created by and shared throughout the organization at every stage of a plant’s lifecycle.
Terry Heal, mechanical project engineer, Willis Pushka, Electrical Draftsman, and Ed Ellinger, Mechanical Draftsman, in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, Canada are long time advocates of automating the management of their engineering drawings. They used their first document management system from 1993 to 2003-until it no longer supported the latest upgrades to their AutoCAD tools. As they searched for a replacement, their two top criteria included support for the latest versions of their Autodesk CAD tools and most importantly, a solution that does not encrypt any documents.
“What we wanted was to be able to find the drawings, have a secure safe place to put them and if something went wrong we wanted to be able to access those drawings on our network without them being encrypted,” said Pushka. The number one thing we wanted was a program that kept all the documents in a native format. That was very important to us.”
Moving Full Steam Ahead with Adept
Their search led them to Synergis Software, the developers of Adept document management. Heal explains their reasons for selecting Adept. “Moving forward with Adept, we certainly wanted to have stronger control over the drawings. We wanted to eliminate the possibility of two people working on the same drawing simultaneously, we wanted to track revisions, and we wanted to maintain a history of the drawing.”
“Adept’s ‘Check In’ and ‘Check Out’ features along with its ability to restrict access to only authorized personnel were additional considerations.”
Another reason for selecting Adept was Synergis Software’s assistance with the implementation. In one week, Pushka and Ellinger worked with a Synergis Software Application Engineer to install Adept on MySQL server for optimum performance, design the Adept database and specifications for the Data├é┬áCards which contain metadata about each document that needs to be tracked, and train the users.
“I think it has been working extremely well and the implementation process was very stress free,” said Pushka.
Adept provides instant access to everyone. Today, the Esterhazy mine sites have 20 concurrent licenses of Adept. There are 14 draftspeople who use Adept for design-intensive work with CAD applications such as Mechanical Desktop and Inventor, as well as a 100 people who use Adept’s built in visualization tool to view and mark up drawings and collaborate. Adept is also used in operations and maintenance by electricians and instrumentation people use need to easily access the latest version of a drawings for ongoing maintenance. The plant surface and underground engineers use Adept to manage and control their drawings. Since Adept’s design provides a centralized repository with access to all information, it gives the people in purchasing, planning, and construction instant and controlled access to the drawings for their work.
Explains Pushka, “Once the drawings have been issued for construction they are available to everyone who has Adept on their computer, these people can look at the file, search for information, and if they need something to maintain, they can print out these drawings. Adept has provided great cost savings because people can access drawings quite efficiently at their own workstation. They don’t have to come back to us and waste our time searching and printing out older drawings.”
Managing and Tracking All Mining Site Assets
At the Esterhazy location, Adept manages multiple types of documents and all their inter-relationships, including AutoCAD Mechanical Desktop, Autodesk Inventor, Microsoft Office, JPEGs and scanned legacy drawings. Before Adept, they filed every paper document and revision in a drawer. Now, 95% of its engineering design drawings have been scanned into Adept for easy searching, tracking, and access. In total, Adept now stores, manages and tracks 62,000 electrical drawings, instrumentation drawings, mechanical drawings, general arrangement drawings and shop details.
“Basically, Adept manages every drawing needed for us to build a plant site. We can track every wire, every piece of gravel and concrete, locations, radioactive sources, you name it. Everything that is secure on the plant site that has a drawing is managed within Adept,” explained Pushka.
Ideas for Expanding Adept to other Plants
The engineers at Esterhazy also see the potential to expand Adept throughout the company. “With the expansions we have coming there is certainly a possibility that some of our other sites would be interested in using Adept,” says Heal. Given time for development, Pushka envisions other ways to extend the benefits of document management throughout the company. “With Adept, we could streamline the process of viewing and tracking drawings done by outside contractors. Right now, we have people sending us drawings back and forth by PDF and it takes a long time. Reducing that process would be a big eye opener.”