I work for a rural electic cooperative. Part of what we do is design and build distribution and transmission substations. When I first noticed Utility Design, I thought it might be what we've been looking for. A little more research changed my mind. This appears to be all about going down stream from the distribution sub.
We're trying to adapt Inventor for our substation design and it appears others, such as Duke Energy and Nashville Electric, have also done this. But that leaves out the site design part of the equation.
So far, the only design solution that appears to take everything from the ground up into account is Bentley Substation. I'm not saying I want to "jump ship," but I sure wish somebody else understood and addressed the needs of the industry.
I have over 10 years of Distribution Design experience at a relatively large electric cooperative and I currently work for one as a System Operator in the same group as the Substation Engineers and I was curious were you looking for one software package to do everything or were just looking for some interoperability between say Inventor and AUD?
I know at our cooperative the Substation Design is done by the Substation group and the Distribution Design group does the design from known points for the circuit getaways.
It would be nice to see a version of Inventor that has been optimized for substation design that would then have some interoperabilitywith AUD for designing the circuit getaways.
I would also like to see things taken a couple of steps further.
They need to have interoperability from start to finish. This would include products like Civil for the initial land design all the way to an Outage Management System. This would have to include products like Civil, AUD, Topobase, Inventor and an OMS system.
What do you think?
What you describe sounds great. A version of Inventor to take the whole thing from empty site to finished station.
We design and maintain transmission lines and transmission and distribution substations. We are owned by several member cooperative electric companies that handle all the distribution lines out from the distribution subs. We use PLSCADD for the transmission line design.
That leaves the substations to Autodesk. They don't really have anything made to handle it. We've done substations in Inventor and we've been able to do some really good things with it. I came from a background of using 3D parametric CAD, so using Inventor over AutoCAD made sense to me. We've had to model many of the components ourselves because many of our suppliers either don't do 3D or are concerned about leaking proprietary data if they share a 3D model. But we're finally establishing a good collection of components, and the bills of material are automatic, which is terrific. Figuring out bills of material manually took a lot of time and weren't always accurate. And any change to the model updates all the drawing sheets and views. Chasing changes around multiple drawings and views in AutoCAD consumed a lot of time. So there are definitely advantages to using Inventor. But Inventor doesn't put the substation on the site. So there's a disconnect between the design of the site and the design of the substation. That's an inconvenience.
But on the financial side, we can't get one suite that includes all the software we need. Inventor and Civil / Map 3D are mutually exclusive. You can get Inventor in Building, Factory, Plant and Product Design Suites. Civil / Map 3D are only in Infrastructure. And if we wanted AutoCAD Electrical, that's only available in Product Design Suite. Do the math on Infrastructure Design Suite Premium plus Inventor Professional plus AutoCAD Electrical. There's an opportunity for Autodesk to provide a good value in a tailored suite.
I think You would currently need the Infrastructure product suite (Civil, Autodesk Utility Design) plus Inventor Professional, not sure why you would need Autocad Electrical, I think that is more for wiring buildings. while those products above would let you do most if not all of your design, it is still missing two areas for a complete solution (Mapping and OMS). For mapping you would need Topobase and a OMS system or at least a interface to an OMS system. I am not sure that they would need to be part of a Suite as you wouldn't need as many licenses of them.
I'm not quite sure if AC Electrical would be useful or not, either. Our Infrastructure Premium suite has Map 3D, which looks like it'll handle our current and foreseeable mapping needs. We just purchased 3 seats of Infrastructure late last year and got the users trained just recently. Civil 3D should handle site design, but again, there's no connection to the station in Inventor.
By connection in the station are you refering to the Distrubution getaways and the transmission lines to the poles and or towers? you could use Autodesk utility design (AUD) in the in Infrastructure Premium suite, I should say you could if inventor can push out a standard autocad drawing.
It can, and we've done that to include a substation done in Inventor in an AutoCAD site plan. I think it would be possible to save the Inventor drawing as an Inventor DWG and then XREF that into the AutoCAD site plan. It would still be a work around, but at least it would update with the Inventor model.
not sure if this will help or if it is a step backwards, but i found this set of short videos of off of Brockwell IT consulting' (http://brockwellit.com/) site:
Do you use Inventor yourself? I just had an idea about an easier way to do conductors - at least compared to the way we do them currently.