DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

Wendy Gintz

Wendy Gintz

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Engineering Schools, Jobs and Resources

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Mar 22, 2017 7:43:00 PM

Engineering is such a broad industry with so many different disciplines. So let's break it down a bit. In this blog we will discuss Engineering Schools, Disciplines, Job Opportunities as well as some specific everyday resources used by the DIS-TRAN Steel engineers.

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According to Grad Schools, the top 5 Engineering Schools are:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA
  • Stanford in Stanford, CA
  • University of California - Berkeley in Berkeley, CA
  • California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA
  • Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh, PA

Not to completely leave out the Louisiana Schools that ranked for Top Engineering Schools, here are our locals:

  • Louisiana State University (LSU) ranked 100
  • Tulane University ranked 105
  • Louisiana Tech University ranked 139

Now that you know where the best schools are, here is a list of the main Engineering Disciplines and Job Opportunities.

1. Chemical Engineering is expected to grow 2% between 2014-2024. Not much growth here but many opportunities. Some continue to be Biomedical Engineers, Chemical Technicians, Nuclear Engineers and Chemist & Materials Scientist.

2. Civil Engineering is expected to grow 8% between 2014-2024. These seems to be the opportunity for some growth in this field. Job opportunities may consist of Architects, Civil Engineer Technicians, Construction Managers, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering as well as Surveyors.

3. Electrical Engineering is expected to show little to no growth between 2014-2024. You may look into Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Electricians and even Sales Engineers.

4. Software Engineering is expected to have the highest growth rate (17%) between 2014-2024. Opportunities consist of Computer & Information Research Scientist, Computer Hardware Engineer, Computer Network Architects, Computer Systems Analyst, Mathematicians and Web Developers.

These are just some of the TOP disciplines in Engineering. As you can see, there are many opportunities in the Utility Industry. DIS-TRAN Steel provides civil engineering services along with our products. We design, detail and fabricate steel transmission and substation structures. Our engineers focus on designing structures that can withstand the loads needed to transport electrical systems to the end user like you and me. The two main structure types are Standard Steel and Tapered Tubular. Each structure is made from different steel shapes. Standard Steel structures are made from preformed beams, angles, plates and tubes. Tapered Tubular structures start off as a flat piece of plate that is then bent and formed into a tapered pole. Just like these structures use different steel pieces they also use different design software and standards.

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Design Software:

Standard Shape - typically use an analysis software (RAM, STAAD, SAAP, etc.) as well as calculation sheets created in either Excel or Mathcad. At DIS-TRAN, we currently use RAM Elements as our analysis software and rely heavily on Excel to create supporting calculation sheets (i.e. load development & connection design sheets).

Tapered Tubular - The standard edition of PLS-CADD is a line design program that includes all the terrain, sag-tension, loads, clearances and drafting functions necessary for the design of an entire power line. TOWER analyzes, designs and optimizes steel lattice towers for transmission and substation applications. PLS-POLE analyzes and designs structures with wood, laminated wood, steel, concrete or fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) poles, or modular aluminum masts.

Design Standards:

Substation Steel Structures - relies heavily on both the AISC Steel Construction Manual (Fourteenth Edition) as well as ASCE 113-08 Substation Structure Design Guide. There may also be specific design standards requested by the customer.

Transmission Steel Structures- relies on ASCE/SEI 48-11 & 74-09 for the design of steel transmission pole structures. Others are RUS Bulletins 1724E-214 (Guide Specification for Standard Class Steel Transmission Poles) and 1724E-204 (Guide Specification for Steel Single Pole and H-Frame Structures).

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Tags: Engineering, engineering solutions, engineering resources

Better... What's your ONE word for 2017?

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Feb 2, 2017 4:53:19 PM

 

Okay, so I maybe a little late for this post but I wanted to make sure it got posted. As I sat back and reflected on all that happened last year, I think about what I want for the new year. One word comes to mind, BETTER. I want to be better in everything I do and everything I am. This includes me as a Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend and Employee. We as individuals or as organizations don't always have to be the best but if we strive to be better than we were yesterday we will see true growth.

 The new year brings huge opportunities to be BETTER. Since this blog is not meant for my own personal rants I will convey how I see DIS-TRAN Steel using this same philosophy.

  • Providing better customer service - Being available is the biggest part of customer service. That could be answering the phone when it rings, returning calls in a timely manner, being able to answer questions or even directing to the appropriate person.
  • Producing better product quality - Taking the time and effort to perform and follow processes that follow AISC protocalls and creating a consistancy between product families.  
  • Better response times - reducing schedule lead times when neccessary and available, quick and accurate issue resolution...DO NOT leave our customers hanging.
  • Suggesting better engineering solutions - Flexibility has been key to DIS-TRAN Steel since inception and is one of our biggest differentiators. .
  • Search for better cost savings - The old saying, "You have to spend money to make money," doesn't always ring true. Here at DIS-TRAN Steel we think of cost savings as a way to better provide for our customers. It's even one of our Company Objectives (Drive out cost. Everyone. Everyday). What can we do BETTER? Provide easier and quicker access for personnel to identify cost and potential cost savings to make more informed decisions. Making better and smarter material purchases when the costs are down and being able to forecast the future needs.

The list could go on and on and these are only a few of the things DIS-TRAN Steel strives for everyday. Whether you are in the Executive Suites or on the shop floor sweeping up pieces of leftover steel, we all work together to make "blank" better. It's up to you to fill in the blank.

We are DIS-TRAN Steel and we are committed to:

  • Giving our owners and customers expected return on their investment
  • Meeting our customers’ needs with outstanding customer service
  • Maximizing safety and productivity and outperforming our competition
  • Living, working, and serving with integrity

What would you like to see DIS-TRAN Steel do better. What is your "fill in the blank"? We would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. If you are not familiar with DIS-TRAN's product family or our services, please check out our website. www.distransteel.com.

Tags: quick response, customer service, engineering solutions

Top 8 Questions we get asked about Composite Crossarms

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Apr 20, 2016 2:38:04 PM

DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions announced early this year a new product.  UltravexTM Composite Crossarms are the newest edition to our overhead product line. Since then we have been asked a number of questions in regards to this new product. Yes, we know it not a new concept, but we know that our patent pending product is engineered differently from others in the market today. So let us dig in and answer those common questions.

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Top 8 Composite Crossarm Questions

1. What kind of UV Protection does the UltravexTM Composite Crossarm have?

There are 3 layers of UV protection. An outer veil protects the arms from UV and is abrasion resistant; there is UV resistant fiberglass mat that is between the outer veil and the fiberglass / resin mixture. The fiberglass / resin blend also has UV inhibiting features. Then, there is an inner mat of the same material as the outer that is between the foam core and the fiberglass / resin mixture. See our 3D rendition on our website.

2. What hardware is used for the UltravexTM Composite Crossarm?

Standard hardware that is used on your wood crossarms can be used on the Ultravex. Standard washers and bolts will eliminate the need for different hardware. Additionally, 5/8” hardware can be used for both Dead End and Tangent applications. This not only saves weight but reduces cost.

3. What safety aspects does the UltravexTM have?

Resists combustions, the arm will char on the outside but structurally will hold respected load and also self-extinguish. The shape reduces critical flash over rating, non-conductive, and superior electrical insulation. The arm resisted 367 kV and you can see below that it arced through the air instead of conducting through the arm.

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4. Since the arm is slightly domed, are special considerations needed for mounting tangent polymer insulators onto the top of the crossarm?

All four surfaces are slightly convex with a max height of 1/16" at the apex. Computing the angle to the apex indicates a 2 degree slope but since the surface is curved there is no sharp apex. There should be no concern about fit of the attaching hardware. The arm will withstand normal bolt loading without damage and there are tests showing the pins fail before damaging the arm.

5. Is it REA approved?

Our official press release was sent out March 23rd 2016 stating that the Ultravex™ Composite Crossarms are now available for use on Systems of USDA RUS Borrowers, Pub 202-1for items:

  • Item “g” Fiberglass Tangent Crossarms
  • Item “gj” Fiberglass Dead-end Assemblies.

6. How do you attach the End Caps?

The end caps are attached to the end of the crossarms by using an industrial strength adhesive that is sourced by an independent company that specializes in adhesives.

7. What happens if the arm fails in the field?

When an UltravexTM Composite crossarm breaks, it still won’t drop the conductor. In fact, after unloading a broken UltravexTM Composite crossarm, you can load it again and it will have a typical residual load carrying capability in the 2,000-4,000 lb. range, which is more than an 8 ft. wood crossarm is even rated for. Intentionally broken during testing, a failed UltravexTM Composite crossarm is shown below. This is a typical failure mode of our arms, shear, and the residual load will hold more than a new wooden crossarm. The arm still has residual load carrying capability after failure and is still holding 3,000lbs as shown below. We have never been able to pull a pin through the arm in independently verified testing. This means the conductor won’t fall to the ground even if something breaks the arm.

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8. Where is the UltravexTM arm manufactured?

All engineering, pultruding, filling, assembly and packaging is in in the USA.  We are very proud to say that our product will not be seen outside the United States unless DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions is shipping them there.


 As the new composite crossarm demand grows, we are sure there will be more questions and want to be able to address each and every one. If you would like to submit a question for response you can click below to email us directly or simply comment on this blog post. 

Email Us Directly

We love to hear feedback from our readers and we look forward to hearing from you.

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Tags: crossarms, composites, ultravex, REA, composite crossarm

A New Product Line for a New Year @ DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Jan 19, 2016 10:41:00 AM

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The New Year brings New Products to DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions.  We are so excited to tell the world about Ultravex™, our newest product line featuring patented, industry-leading technology that sets it apart from the rest.

Ultravex cross arms are designed like no other fiberglass composite arm on the market today.  They are designed from the Inside – Out instead of the traditional method of selecting an industry standard size and determining capabilities. We looked for the most efficient shape and section for providing a unique solution to this industry’s needs.  The unique design and shape of Ultravex fiberglass composites creates a product with superior strength and BIL ratings for Tangent and Dead-end applications not seen in the market today.

5 Things That Set Ultravex™ Crossarms Apart

  • The Ultravex design allows for one 3-1/2” x 3-1/2” sized crossarm to be used for multiple applications.
  • No special hardware is required for assembling Ultravex to the pole or for the hardware to Ultravex.
  • The design and improved wall thickness eliminates the need for inserts.
  • Inventories can be reduced with Ultravex as this crossarm can be used for tangents and dead-end applications due to extremely high strength ratings.
  • Ultravex crossarms are
    • Fire Resistant
    • Woodpecker Proof
    • Insect Proof
    • UV Protected

See our website for more. WW.DISTRANOVERHEADSOLUTIONS.COM

We know there are mounds of questions and we look forwad to the communication exchage between us and those interested in knowing more about not only Ultravex™ but about all of our product offerings. Not to mention that there is so much more to come.  2016 shows true potential for you as a customer. You may also want to refer back to our Blog Post 8 Major Markets that use Composites.

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It's your turn.  What questions do you have for DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions?

Tags: composites, ultravex, new products

2015 ETS Structure Conference - Broken Down DIS-TRAN Style

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Nov 16, 2015 3:30:00 PM

Did you take good notes during your sessions at the 2015 Electrical Transmission and Substation Structure Conference. Don't worry, we've got your backs.

Buzz Words from ETS Structure Conference

These are a few of the buzz words remembered by the DIS-TRAN Steel Engineers during the industries most electrifying conference.  While so many of the worlds finest engineers from manufactures, contractors, epc, and utilities from around the world gathered to Talk the Talk, there may have been a few that were not able to participate.  Doesn't make you any less finer in our minds. 

Here we hope to briefly describe some of the sessions that our engineers found most interesting and some of their key take aways.  How often do you get to read the notes of other engineers.  Pretty exciting!

Structural Analysis 1 - Mike Miller, P.E., M.ASCE
Presentations based on the most common engineered structure, tubular steel poles and testing these structures.

  1. It's benefitial to see results of full scale tests, especially when confirmating the designs are adequate.
  2. The prefered is not always the best. Options must be reviewed.
  3. There is simplicity in Slip Joints AND they work.  
  4. Using a non-traditional structure configuration can be a more efficient solution.

Special Design Considerations - Marlon Vogt, P.E., M.ASCE
We are not always only looking at the functionability of a structure but sometimes it's aesthetic value can be a huge issue.  In these  papers a worldwide view on structure aesthetics was discussed.

  1. BOLD (Breakthrough Overhead Line Design) has changed the transmission line needs to be more appealing.
  2. Using the induction heat bending process for bending tapered tubular sections.
  3. The more visual transmission lines are becoming the more emphesis is pused on aesthetics.
  4. Engineers play a key role in the NEPA team providing technical support.
  5. Utilities are researching alternative materials for transmission design and applications.

Structural Analysis 2 - Robert Nickerson, P.E., F.SEI, M.ASCE
Learn how lattice tower analysis is still relevant, the challenges and the eccentric connections of these towers.

  1. The use of graphical analysis can be done with a CAD software along with full scale diagrams can be created.
  2. Two-Deminsional CAD tools have no automatic feature for evaluating eccentricities.  The actual behavior of the structure can can differ from the theoretical model.

Construction Challenges - Dana Crissey, P.E., M.ASCE
Following teams that were faced with challenges and overcame them by thinking innovatively to get their projects done.

  1. Starting from complete scratch involves creating standard/best practices and designs (foundation and structural) from the ground up.
  2. River crossing foundations can be complicated due to the land around the river where the soft adn highly variable soils can decrease accessibility.
  3. Safety can be a challenge and has led to added specifications in the design phase which  incorporate fall protection requirements.

Rerating and Upgrading - Tim Cashman, P.E., M.ASCE
Making the decision of fixing and tearing down lines to rebuild is the questions these papers discuss.  Hightlights from three upgrade projects to overcome congestion.

  1. Increased load requirements calls for improving the existing systems and decisions must be made on how to most effectively accomplish this.
  2. Major considerations are: old vs new codes, life expectancy of the existing structures and should you reinvorce or rebuild.

In conclusion, the theme this year seemed to be focused around Challenges and Solutions.  Of course, that is what Engineering is all about.  Over the last three years, since the last ETS Structure Conference an engineers dream and dread are based on solving problems.  When you think of Creativity we tend to think of Artists, Graphic Designers, Marketers but these Engineers have Creativity mastered the art of engineering.  Whether the challenge was Cost, Time, Design, Right of Way, Aesthetically pleasing to the eye or Environmental they were all addressed by using best practices and thinking outside the box, CREATIVELY.

How have you used what you learned at the ETS Conference during your day to day activities?  What take aways did you have? We would love to hear your point of view.

 Dive Deeper Into the Transmission World

Tags: Engineering, design

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