The SYSTA GmbH acts as a planning agency in the field of EMSR-telecontrol and process control engineering both self-employed and as technical planner after planner for construction plans and technology.
The SYSTA System-Automatisierung GmbH was founded in 1990 and is an example of successful and independent corporate development in the new federal states. The founders have meanwhile reached their well-deserved retirement.
In order to continue the successful development in the future, as of June 1st, 2022, Stadtwerke Jena Netze GmbH 100% of the shares taken over.
The long-time CEO Detlef Walther tells about the history of the SYSTA System-Automatisierung GmbH in the speech of the occasion of the 20th year anniversary in October 2010:
“SYSTA has been developed from a single research department of the VEB Electronic Gera. Together with 6 employees from this department and Mr. Dannenberg as the head of it we created the MSR-technique and control for the Rationalisierungsmittelbau which had the function to optimize in-house processes and economy.
Since autumn ‘89 it was clear in our mind, we needed reorientation.
In 1990 at the spring exhibition in Leipzig we got in contact with Mr. Armbruster, at that time CEO of the SAT GmbH in Munich. He invited us to visit him in his firm. For him it was as usual, for us already something special then.
This invitation was the cause for Mr. Danneberg, Mr. Gerhardt and Mr. Walther to ask for permission to do a business trip to the non-socialist economic area. The application has been approved and even a bit of travel fare in D-Mark has been given. Of course, with the order to do the business trip the situation of cooperation between SAT and Electronic should have been fathomed.
Being at SAT we had been welcomed very friendly and we were impressed about that company which had about 20 employees, a well working atmosphere and technology we had never seen before. Our idea about future has been reflected in SAT as a producer of telecontrol and process control engineering.
A possible teamwork between both firms has been discussed in various conversations. We went back to Gera with many ideas and pointed them out there.
However, our enthusiasm met with no favour in our firm. But regarded with more than 20 years apart it might be understandable. As a start, there was nothing to do for us at the research department at Electronic Gera, thus zero hours of short time work. There were no high hopes of continuing work there anymore.
So Mr. Dannenberg, Mr. Gerhardt and Mr. Walther decided to ground an own automation company. The assistance of Mr. Armbruster and SAT was assured and as already stated, to sit and wait with no work to do was not really encouraging.
Now there was plenty to do. The related contracts needed to be drafted and certified. Sounds easy, but the notaries had been taking over the regulation on fees so that it was not so easy with the new contract law. At the end nothing but the signature and the bill were made by the notary.
But there was more to it than that: a name had to be found, a logo had to be created, premises had to be looked for and further more.
Mr. Dannenberg and Mr. Armbruster prepared everything for contracting and got help by Mr. Schön. On 7 August 1990, everything was perfect and signed.
Together with Mr. Dannenberg as the managing director and us as five dynamic colleges (I hope Ms. Schuhmann is ok with that, that I did call her a masculine colleague and not a feminine colleague because the law of discrimination was not created then) the SYSTA system-automation GmbH started business at the market economy as orginator of telecontrol and process control engineering. We gathered the appropriated knowledge in training courses at SAT, at least theoretically.
First we started to automate Saxony with an electronic tenancy agreement from the old place of work in the centre of Gera. Everything was done by our own: building control cabinets and ultra-modern automation technology, ordering material, writing documentation, on-site installation and start-up. For us as we were employed at VEB until then, all of that has been completely new.
So it was possible for us to install our first plant of telecontrol at the water works of Zwickau.
At the same time, Mr. Frankhänel, who was especially interested in a quick development of the automation technology, had helped us to overcome some obstacles in conversations with the operating departments.
Further plants of telecontrol followed at MIDEWA in Zeitz and Naumburg and at WAB in Coswig. The clarification plant in Klöden (in the near of Wittenberg) and the TWA Wilkau-Haßlau were equipped with measurement technology by us.
That was sometimes quite adventurous. Cable connections were loose and antennas had to be installed in wind and weather conditions. So it could happen that you hang at a 100 feet high water tower or that you hammer holes into a reinforced concrete wall with a battery-operated impact wrench, because of a not existing power connection.
Our literally “old” premises in Gera were not able to keep up with the requirements of our producing industry. Narrow stairs and tight turns had often been a big challenge or just infeasible.
So we sallied ourselves out to search for a new principle office. In Gera-Rusitz a real estate company had just been buying a big area of a cattle breeding and was willing to convert it to a commercial area. Here we were able to rent an office building with good conditions in Mai 1993. With loading ramp and a separate garage it was at least theoretically possible to produce under better conditions.
There was a loading ramp and a wide door but that was only 6.5 feet high. Now, imagine when circuit cabinets are delivered how close it gets. It got even worse after completion of the circuit cabinets because then they were 7.8 inch higher and 200 kilo heavier. With a wagon for transport, similar to the inclined lift it has been transported.
We felt comfortable in the rooms of the office building. It was a bit isolated (sure with the background story of a cattle breeding). The commercial area had not developed in great steps but it was all right. In February 1995 a few thieves had high hope to make big haul unfortunately. They devastated us and broke into our imposing safe which was filled with firm files up to the roof and a bit of cash. Therefore they loaded the safe into one of our cars and went away with both of our cars into direction Leipzig where the safe was broken.
In 1991, parallel to the realization, we already got in contact to planning tasks.
At that time the public services in Jena already owned plants of telecontrol for their water supply systems and a quite well constructed communication cable net which was left from the DDR. But many of these systems were not as fresh as a daisy anymore.
Thanks to our managing director Mr. Dannenberg and the interest of the public services an acquisition of the actual state for all objects could have been done. Thereby we worked together with the department of electronics, especially with Mr. Gütich and Mr. Müller, as well as with the water technologists and masters, Mr. Seiler and Mr. Booch. It also happened that long discussions had been made to what extent the renovation of objects is necessary.
Based on the illustrated acquisition of state of more than 100 objects in the municipal area Jena and the related deep well galleries of the valleys of the Saale and Roda a comprehensive design engineering could have been done for all objects and the steps for construction to renovate the automation technique for all of them could have been defined.
Over a long period of time, this illustrated documentation had been an important basis for work for Mr. Seiler of the public services in Jena. Even years later it had become good evidence to convince of the need of remedial actions.
To do an acquisition of state and the design of the specialties in the field of water supply had been diligence work with an additional learning effect. We also needed to reduce prejudges of the operator because tap water was flowing without automation after all. What is data transfer or a control and communication system for? Thereby I kept one thing in my mind: A water master told me at once, regardless of the deep well has a cutting depth of 230 feet or 233 feet it does not matter. After the installation of the control and communication system the same water master had been standing in front of it and said, the cutting depth alternates about 0.16 feet, this is unacceptable and the supplier had to correct it.
Now then for the first step of construction the specifications needed to be worked out. The aim was to automate 15 deep wells and one central system of process control with a big mosaic at the wall. While we were at it, the ventilation and the USV-plant, the security of the object and the e-technique had to be cared of in the waiting room.
An application for tendering had not be available, not even to some extent.
So the texts for each position had to be written before and had to be brought into a kind of tender afterword. With computer and MS Word it had to be worked up. Definitely half of the time went by because of formatting, optimizing texts and the search about the reason why some mystifying changes had been made when saving things. If you regard the performance of AVA-software nowadays you need to ask yourself how it was possible of working back then.
Finally we managed it and the first tendering had been done well. Our relationship to the public services of Jena is very well since then. We did EMSR-planning and planning of telecontrol for all objects of water and sewage water and we like to work together with the public services until today.
Since 1996 the change from the realization firm with department of planning to an expert in EMSR- , instrumentation and control technology was made over a long period of time.
Our expertise about realization was a benefit in several ways. It is always good if the planner knows what he is talking about. Often it had been very helpful to understand the technical jargon of the starting up staff during many starting ups.
Our next great planning projects were at the public services in Zwickau. Similar to Jena the knowledge had been enforced that a construction of more than 120 single objects, different measuring ranges with a related sub-control room and with a superior control and communication system had to be done step by step. The creation of such a document and the implementation and supervision with the own one force is not possible. Over 10 years we had supervised the construction of the telecontrol and the net of process control in Zwickau and we are still working for them today.
Our work for the associations in Zeulenroda (4 steps still in process), Gotha (far more than 100 projects still in process), Osterfeld (10 stations and PLS) and for the WAH in Hermsdorf (major part of the sewage water systems) developed in a similar way and we still realize projects for them.
There has always been a well teamwork together with the responsible at the associations like with Mr. Meinhardt, Mr. Roßmann, Mr. Looß and their respective masters and electrical engineers and we hope that this keeps going.
The development in the surroundings of our principle office in Gera-Rusitz was not quite successful. The owners of the land tried themselves out as salesmen of cows and later they were even more successful in siphon off appropriations and in producing soap bubbles. An absolute disinterest followed, so over the ten years we had been there the area kept its charm of a shabby complex of cattle breeding.
So we were again looking for new rooms.
On 1st May 2004 we moved to Bad Köstritz which is still the location of our firm today. A good catch if regard to the premises, the company Dolle as the landlord and the neighbourhood with all the other firms at that place. Of course, we could name numerous more projects and there would be many more good clients but this is our everyday business and not the most exciting part of the firm history.
Now, in our review, we are getting slowly close to the present. In the last few years we had to meet new challenges. The majority of the objects that had been in bad conditions after the wall fell down 89’ have been modernized. The focus has been more and more on arrangements of renewing and expansion. These have mainly been done by planner of construction and technology. Thereby we have been faced with the task to take our leave as technical planner. In the meantime it has turned out quite well, as it is shown by the planning of Pöyry; VTU; IKW ; igr; IBW; Reislöhner; Krausser and further more planner of construction and technology. The majority of the sewage water objects we did plan in this combination for example for the association Orla, for the association central valley of the Elster / OTWA Gera and in the last few years the associations in Gotha and Apfelstädt, too.
In 2007 we were allowed to design a mobile emergency power system plus the necessary connection cabinets which was served for a test balloon for Thuringia’s supplier of remote water services. This design has led to further planning tasks of the TFW. At the moment the TFW is controlling the construction of the overland water pipeline C and is doing the detailed design / LV – building of the water pipes in Hainberg. The cooperation with TFW as a great client was not easy at any time. There are high requirements but the support of the employees at TFW, especially Mr. Thaut and Mr. Erfurt, is very good and so I think, that together we will be able to finalise the projects well.
What we should not forget at this point: a triumvirate participates in the construction. The constructor and the technical designer need to go hand in hand and not the equipment supplier is the enemy but the teammate. There is a constructive cooperation and a good chemistry between us and many other firms at the construction site, even if you sometimes need to tell somebody off.
We also would like to thank the constructors and responsible of the companies who do a great job with the will to take a project and finalise it well and who do not come along as a so called hunter of supplements.
In March 2008 our as so far managing director Mr. Dannenberg retired well-deserved and led the executives into my hands. At this point I would like to express again a sincere thanks to Mr. Dannenberg for the solid base on which he placed the firm over the last 17 years. Thank you Klaus. Now, we are able to gather a lot of fruits of your work but it is also our duty of continuing the company in your food steps. We like to meet the challenge.
The huge number of new tasks and projects has exhausted our selves. The young and dynamic team became a dynamic team. The heads gathered a lot of experience and a bit of crust grew as well, which will be used to sharpen one’s view for everything new and innovation.
Nevertheless we looked hardly for fresh blood since 2008.
After unforeseen difficulties to get new teammates at all we have had good luck by employing Mr. Pröhl. Since August 2008 he has become a very important employee because he already directed the Sigraph-programme and the Auto-CAD-applications next to the “normal” everyday work.
In May 2010 we got reinforced by Mrs. Weise. At the moment she is basically working on the OTWA project and is getting familiar with the work on project and visio files.
And that’s not all. So far we have been a thuringian company and because Mrs. Weise came to us from Saxony-Anhalt we are allowed to call ourselves “central german”. If a real Saxon joined us, we would be able to talk to nearly all of our customers in their native language. As a regional planning agency we operate in the three states Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.
For planning and especially for the controlling of construction it has been a great advantage for us to be near by the motorway and quickly at the customer.
The specialization of our employees is a must have in comparison to the increasing number of clients we are grateful to have and the amount of projects we realize. The so far philosophy “everybody does everything” is still valid for the project manager and his planning, indeed, but it does not count for the processing of the projects in the agency. Sometimes, if it is necessary, you need to know a little bit more about the AVA-programme or the signs but it gets principally more effective with experts.
Nevertheless our project managers need to take care of the project from the first supervision with the client on up to the acceptance certificate. They need to overlook the design engineering here and there or to announce the LV as one piece EMSR-plant. In general this comes back to roost at the latest when the building supervision need to be done."
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