The CAD Software:
Utilizing the mainstream 3D Cad products in conjunction with a defined strategy along with research of historical projects data and recognizing patterns and consistencies it is quite feasible to do a lot more than just simply reproducing the existing 2D standards as 3D content.
In 2005 we had intended to use the Autodesk Inventor Cad product for this project but this did not have the ability for formulae or any intelligence in the model descriptions at that time, so we decided to use Mechanical Desktop (MDT) which was a more capable product. The project would later be ported to Inventor.
One key advantage of using the often underrated MDT was interoperability. We could easily reference Autocad survey and grid drawings and Civil 3D groundworks and section drawings seamlessly in MDT and vice versa. A feature only recently available in Inventor.
Dedicated Sub Station CAD Products:
Today many of the main Cad software developers; Bentley, Siemens, Primatech and Autodesk all now have dedicated products for Sub Station modelling and design.
These products are generally quite good, however, they do imply specific workflows to achieve reasonable returns and occasionally force a work method that may not be compatible with your own company’s procedures. Some of these are designed by software developers with limited exposure to the practicalities of the design, manufacture, and installation of sub stations.
One particular product shows Electrical/Structural assemblies inclusive of the foundation for that assembly. Foundations should be scheduled, procured and constructed as an element in their own right. You have a foundation plan for a reason; the idea of including individual foundations in a electrical/structural sub assembly makes no sense in the real world.
If your company already owns products like Inventor, Solidworks, Solidedge or Microstation; the actual process of adapting those products to the way you already work for design, procurement and installation is really not that difficult and could save you a lot of time, effort, cost and frustration.
The core Cad products all have the capability of creating a sub station design solution as its basically a matter of looking for patterns and consistency in the current and historical projects with some very basic programming routines for things like modelling cable sag and lightning protection in conjunction with a modular strategy.
That’s part of what this blog is all about; adapting your own core cad systems with the way you currently work is a much better option as you have full control over the process. It also ensures you maintain compatibility with all your other ERP processes and downstream activities.