Case Studies: NOVA Gas
NOVA Gas Transmission Opens Its Engineering Data Pipeline
NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. operates Alberta's 13,300-mile-long, high-pressure pipline, which is one of the world's most technologically advanced gas tranportation systems.

Its engineers have been long time Microstation® CADD users, amassing large quantities of drawings. Many of these drawings are considered active at any point in time.

In the early years, a custom drawing file system had been developed in FORTRAN on a VAX to assist in the management of CADD data. This system helped engineering, but couldn't regulate the file names or stored locations of the files. Additionally, it was requiring two persons per year to support it.

Finally, the need to access the files was increasing in the organizations outside of engineering. After 15 years of use, the established file management system was not sufficient to meet their needs. Recognizing that access and control must improve, NOVA Gas Transmission began the journey to replace their engineering drawing file system.

Representatives attended a Kalthoff EDMS conference and realized that they needed a document management solution, rather than a CADD filemanager replacement. Following the conference, the document management proponents formed a team, generated a business case, and got approval for funding of a document management solution. A consultant they met at the Kalthoff Conference was hired to review thier proposed Request for Proposal (RFP), validate the requirements and provide a list of proposed vendors.

Shortly thereafter, in the year 1995, NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. had a vendor-ready RFP and a list of 10 vendor prospects for their CADD Management Environment Solution for all CAD drawings and related engineering documents.

Vendor demonstrations followed NOVA's process to vendors. Three vendors remained whose products met the CADD and text-orientated requirements.

"Of these three vendors, we felt that Auto-trol's KONFIG® CM (formally CENTRA 2000®) system held the greatest promise for growing with NOVA Gas Transmission as our immediate engineering needs matured; and as the document and product data management use expanded throughout the corporation and into our contractor base" said Jim Bailey, NOVA's Manager, Provide & Maintain, Information Management

"Additionally, Auto-trol's attention to, and understanding of, our business needs gave us most confidence in their ability to work with us to implement the appropriate solution," he added.

Auto-trol Technology (Canada) Ltd., a wholly owned subsiduary of Auto-trol Technology Corporation, was awarded the contract in July 1995. The system implementation began in September 1995. NOVA Gas Transmission and Auto-trol team members worked together on system design, data organization and implementation of custom programs to bulk-load legacy data and enforce NOVA's designated business rules. After only nine weeks, the initial system containing files for active projects moved into production.

"It took a lot of combined effort and commitment from both Auto-trol and NOVA Gas Transmission to accomplish this implementation in such a short time frame. We pushed the limit on what we could accomplish and were successful," stressed Bailey.

This system will facilitate much of NOVA's engineering work. CADD operators can now easily access, manage and control active and released drawings. Dispersal of drawings and related text documents will be automated to field operations with support for remote redlining and markup.

Once the inaugrial implementation is completed, the Auto-trol solution will eliminate part of the drafting records department with initial projected annual savings of $606,000.

Subsequent savings will be realized with the elemination of the VAX containing the legacy project information. Much larger savings are anticipated as the system is expanded to link dispatate databases and applications used in NOVA's engineering and purchasing operations to streamline their design-to-production cycles.

"This implementation represents the first step toward reducing the cycle time for the design-to-in-service process for compressor stations, meter stations and pipline projects," remarked Bailey. "We have plans for expansion of the production system in 1997 and expect substantial compression in the time and lower costs for bringing new facilities on line."