January 2018. It’s time for the annual DuuniExpo recruitment event, held at the Lahti Fair Centre. The Centre is packed full of business representatives and university of applied sciences students from the Päijät-Häme region of southern Finland. One of the thousands of hopefuls looking to secure a summer internship is 22-year-old Roope Penttinen. Roope’s attention has been grabbed by the weighing and dosing system showcased at the Lahti Precision booth. With the company’s name already familiar to him, he decides to find out more about the summer jobs Lahti Precision has to offer.
Every story has a beginning After a successful interview, this young man with an interest in logic programming found himself signing a contract for a summer internship at the company.
“I was assigned the task of working out various ways of speeding up and harmonizing the logics programming at the start of my internship. There was a strong desire within Lahti Precision to use as much pre-programmed code as possible and to make any potential changes to the ready-made code centrally available to all the firm’s engineers. In the end, this became the topic of my thesis work”, he explains.
Moving away from engineer-specific inconsistencies
As part his thesis work, Roope got to know the Siemens TIA Portal programming environment, its comprehensive library concept, and how it is used in automating aspects of the design process.
“We transitioned from the Simatic Classic programming environment to the TIA Portal three years ago, as we were looking to optimize our working methods a bit more. Classic works by copying code from previous factory projects, with the result that any possible errors get repeated, which meant that some of the new components or their parts were falling short. The software code from the previous projects would include engineer-specific parts that varied from one engineer to the next and we wanted to move away from these kinds of issue”, says Head of Electrical and Automation Engineering at Lahti Precision, Kari Puttonen.
The end result of the thesis work was to design a more efficient operational model; one which took full advantage of the wide range of features available in the TIA Portal, such as the version management capability provided by the system’s library functionality and the ability to save software templates.
“I came up with detailed instructions for the automation staff on how to use and maintain the library in the TIA Portal. In future, every project will be developed based on the library”, Penttinen explains.
There was a strong desire within Lahti Precision to use as much pre-programmed code as possible and to make any potential changes to the ready-made code centrally available to all the firm’s engineers.Design Engineer at Lahti Precision, Roope Penttinen
Achieving efficiency without compromising on quality
According to Kari Puttonen, up to 1000 hours was spent on the automation planning for one dry product factory using the old method.
“By using the library functionality, we’re able to save all our automation engineers’ hard work so that everyone can benefit from it. We now have a consistent, company-wide way of working and we no longer have to deal with engineer-specific inconsistencies in the code. This also makes it easier for new engineers to get to know the system and allows us to sub-contract work when needed. I’d say that we are looking at a time-saving of at least 50 percent over the course of this year”, Kari remarks.
“This is a significant improvement. Thanks to the more efficient design processes facilitated by the TIA Portal’s library, we are able increase our competitive edge without sacrificing our high-quality standards. The international pricing competition in our sector is tough. But, by adopting the latest technologies, we can continue offering jobs in Finland”, observes Head of Sales and Marketing at Lahti Precision, Jarmo Sopanen.
Thanks to the more efficient design processes facilitated by the TIA Portal’s library, we are able increase our competitive edge without sacrificing our high-quality standards.Head of Sales and Marketing at Lahti Precision, Jarmo Sopanen
Challenges for everyone
Some of the automation engineers were concerned that the sense and order in the programming would be lost with the transition to standard blocks as the library project began.
“No two factory projects are ever really alike. So, the challenges are felt by everyone. Now, though, we free-up more time by dealing with them”, Kari Puttonen observes.
All the firm’s automation engineers got to have their say on the new working methods and, for example, the standard blocks being developed as the library project began.
“In the end, it was a really nice project; full of teamwork, talking things over, and reaching compromises.”
But how is Roope Penttinen the industrious student doing now, a year on from the DuuniExpo?
“I qualified as a machine and production technology engineer in January of this year and then secured an engineering job at Lahti Precision soon after. This sector seems to be just the right fit for me.”
Author: Päivi Lukka Pictures: Päivi Lukka, Johanna Iho and Lahti Precision
Lahti Precision Oy
- Lahti Precision is the leading Nordic specialist supplier in the demanding field of industrial weighing and dosing systems. The company is one of the most internationally-significant suppliers to dry mix factories.
- Lahti Precision began producing weighing scales in Lahti in 1914.
- In addition to scales, Lahti Precision provides bulk handling and dosing equipment, lamella conveyors and mixers for the process industry, individual weighing components, weighing automation and weighing information management systems and life cycle services to our customers.
- Based on Siemens technology, the AutomationLAHTI concept utilized at the DrymixLAHTI factory comprehensively provides our customers with significant added value.
- 115 employees
- Net sales: 27 million euros (2018).
- Certified Siemens Solution Partner.