DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

What kind of Steel Structures Does Your Utility Project Need?

Posted by DIS-TRAN Steel on Sep 8, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Anyone in the utility industry today knows the importance of high-quality products so preparing for any kind of project can be stressful. Structures, whether substation or transmission need to stand up to unpredictable weather and heavy wear and tear. We like to be nimble, adaptable, and fast when we design and fabricate new structures for our customers. Our engineers always design structures for customers with economics in mind, to ensure not just functionality but affordability. They will choose and combine standard shape steel structures and tapered tubular steel structures as they make the most sense for the project at hand.

So, let's break down these two types of structures into why and when they make the most sense and examples of steel structures for each.

StandardShape.jpg

Standard Shape Steel Structures
At DIS-TRAN Steel, our in-house engineering and project management expertise and resources are vast. Using a mix of standard shape material we can exceed your expectations.

Best/Most economically used when:

  1. Low profile
  2. Light loads
  3. Low voltage compact design
  4. Compact design with potential future additions
  5. Shorter leadtime

Types

  1. Equipment Pedestals
  2. Box Bay
  3. Bus supports
  4. Switch stand
  5. Substation riser
  6. Low voltage distribution sub

TaperedTubular.jpg

Tapered Tubular Steel Structures
Right now, fabricated tubular steel poles form about 80% of non-wood electric transmission structures in the United States.

Best/Most economically used when:

  1. High profile
  2. Heavy loads
  3. Higher voltage
  4. Aesthetic effects
  5. High-tension pull-offs
  6. Deflection concerns

Types

  1. Transmission Towers
  2. Distribution Poles
  3. Standard Class Poles
  4. Substation Deadends
  5. Static Pole
  6. High Voltage Equipment Pedestal
  7. High Voltage Bus Support
  8. High Voltage Switch Stand

The Engineering/Sales office and plant facilities are only 15 minutes apart in Pineville, Louisiana, creating synergy across the design, detail and production processes from start to finish. Sitting on 50 acres with over 260,000 square feet of production space, our plant is organized for execution and volume. Whether you need pre-engineered poles, transmission poles, or substation structures, DIS-TRAN Steel can fabricate them to fit your exact needs and specifications. We’re here to make it happen quickly, effectively, and economically every time.

Learn more about our flexible engineering capabilities and collaborative project process by visiting us online at www.distransteel.com today!

Ultimate Utility Picture Book

Tags: steel structures, tapered tubular steel poles, standard shape steel structures

SUBSTATIONS: 3 Common Steel Structures Found Inside

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Feb 26, 2015 8:54:00 AM

Before electricity can travel into your home, it must pass through a substation first. A substation is an assemblage of equipment where electrical energy is passed in order to be stepped up or stepped down.

Transformers inside a substation change the voltage levels between high transmission voltages and lower distribution voltages. The high transmission voltages are used to carry electricity longer distances, like across the country, whereas lower distribution voltages travel to industrial, commercial or residential consumers.

In a T&D system, the major components typically consist of transmission lines, distribution lines, substations and switchyards.

For this particular Blog, lets just identify the Main Substation Structures.

1.)    Dead-End Structures

2.)    Static Poles

3.)    Bus Supports/ Equipment Stands

Dead-end Structures are where the line ends or angles off. They are typically constructed with heavier steel in case they are needed to carry heavier tension. The two most common dead-end structures are H-Frame and A-Frame structures.

HFrame Substation Structure   t&d_1-resized-600

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Static Pole, is a single, free-standing pole that creates a shield to protect all of the equipment inside a substation from lightning. Static poles may or may not have overhead shield wires attached to enhance protection. It depends on the size of the substation as to how many static poles are needed.    

NOTE: Tapered tubular design is typically efficient and economical in dead-end andstatic pole situations when compared to AISC standard shape structures.

 

 

describe the image

 

Bus Supports are the most basic structure found inside a substation. Its main purpose is to provide support for rigid bus as it travels though the substation. Rigid bus is stiff and will not move around during     weather events. Unlike rigid, flexible bus is typically used in high   seismic areas in order to be able to move and dampen the seismic forces that occur. 

 

Examples of some equipment stands include:t can be of significant weight and must meet specific guidelines for structural loads, deflection limits or clearance requirements. Equipment Stands are the structures that the actual equipment sit on.

  • Potential Transformers (PT) Stands
  • Current Transformers (CT) Stands
  • Coupling Capacitor Voltage Transformer (CCVT ) Stands
  • Lightning Arresters (LA)
  • Switch Stands

 

When it comes to which type of steel is used, galvanized or weathering, inside a substation, I won’t say that you will never see weathering steel, but it is very rare. Weathering steel is used more in transmission structures than substation. One of the main reasons is because aesthetically, galvanized steel “looks” better inside a substation. Typically a substation is surrounded by a fence, has a metal building inside as well as white rock on the ground surrounding it. So the look of weathering steel, which is usually a dark brown color, aesthetically, goes better with a transmission line running through the woods to blend in versus in a substation.

Let us know if this information was helpful.  Comment below with and questions you may have, we would love to hear from you.

 

 Ultimate Utility Guide

 

Tags: steel structures, DIS-TRAN Steel, standard shape steel structures, switch stands, substation, dead-end structures, H-Frame structures, dead-end h-frame structures

Proper Draining and Venting Provisions for Steel Structures

Posted by Brooke Barone on Aug 7, 2014 2:33:00 PM

Something that might be viewed as a small, insignificant venting hole on a 10,000 pound steel structure, if not well thought out, could really have an adverse effect on production.

These mistakes, big or small, can delay or even put a halt to jobs. It’s key that all along the process, from engineering to detailing and quality control, there are people in place who know what to look for. Once the structure gets delivered to the galvanizer it can become difficult and more costly to make modifications because plates might already be cut, or everything might be welded up.

When creating fabrication drawings for galvanized structures, it’s important, as well as valuable, to know proper draining and venting provisions for these steel structures. If adequate venting and draining holes are not provided, the structures can run into many problems.

5 Negative Effects:

1. Air pockets can form, causing structures to rust out from the inside

2. Excess galvanizing buildup

3. Lead to longer fabrication times

4. Welded plate can blow out, causing safety concerns

5. Poor coating

Not having adequate venting and draining holes can really have an intangible effect: it’s hard to put a dollar amount on what happens when a structure either doesn’t have proper venting, or one of the five stated above occurs. It’s usually not too hard to correct if it’s caught up front, but the further it gets in the process, and closer to the delivery date, is when the scrambling might start. All the man hours it takes to call the engineer on record to approve revisions, or contact customers, plant personnel, the galvanizer, etc. can really put a stop to production, causing low production numbers and possibly delayed shipping. (But working with a trusted steel fabricator, can help to avoid these issues.)

excess galvanizing buildup

Some standard shape structures, such as square and rectangular tube columns and beams, are hollow, so provisions need to be made in order to allow galvanizing to easily flow and coat the inside portion of the structure. Sometimes fabricators will provide a small bar with a removable cover plate, attached with two (2) small stainless steel self-drilling screws. However, if the customer doesn’t feel this is sufficient enough, then the next suggestion could be to use a thicker bar with drill and tap holes, and two (2) A307-TAP bolts.  Some might suggest the use of expanded metal, but excessive build up can take place, which is unsightly and also impairs vision into the tube, hindering the Quality Control Department from being able to adequately determine if interior galvanizing coating is sufficient.

Other standard shape structures like channels, wide flanges and angles, are solid, with just the outside receiving coating. Some issues that can arise with this are air pockets and excessive galvanizing buildup. For these shapes, you need to watch where stiffeners, connection plates and brackets are welded that could form large pockets of air as the section is dipped into the kettle. Tapered tubular structures are also hollow like square and rectangle tubes.

As a designer, you are always trying to find the balance of putting enough holes for galvanizing while not putting too many to affect the structural integrity of the steel member. For example, if dealing with corners in a square and rectangular tube, slots or holes can be provided near these corners to prevent air pockets from forming, which can decrease the amount of galvanizing coating in the area.

The more you understand how the member is lifted and dipped in and out of the galvanizing kettle, the better you can locate the venting and draining provisions.

For more information about galvanizing and how it works, click here to read past articles.

  Dive Deeper Into the Transmission World

Tags: standard shape steel structures, galvanized steel, steel fabricator, galvanized structural steel, rectangular steel tube, steel square tube

Why Galvanized Structural Steel Craves Proper Venting and Draining

Posted by Brooke Barone on Oct 23, 2013 3:39:00 PM

Something that might be viewed as a small, insignificant venting hole on a 10,000 pound structure, if not well thought out, could really have an adverse effect on production.

We all make mistakes every now and then; no matter if you’re on the engineer side, or project coordinator, quality control or detailing side, mistakes happen. But these mistakes, big or small, can delay or put a halt to jobs. I know it’s easy to sometimes overlook something when we’ve done it so many times to where we could practically do it in our sleep.  But nonetheless, you have to make sure to keep an eye out and to catch mistakes before it gets too far down the production line.

When creating fabrication drawings for galvanized structures, it’s important, as well as valuable, to know proper draining and venting provisions for these steel structures. If adequate venting and draining holes are not provided, these structures can run into many problems.

5 Negative Effects:

1. Air pockets can form, causing structures to rust out from the inside

2. Excess galvanizing buildup

3. Lead to longer fabrication times

4. Welded plate can blow out, causing safety concerns

5. Poor coating

It’s key that along the process, there are people in place who know what to look for or have an eye for knowing what will work when it goes to the galvanizer. But if it passes through the line of engineering, detailing, quality control and then is delivered to the galvanizer, it might be harder and more costly to make modifications. Plates might already be cut or everything might already be welded up, making it more difficult to modify.

Not having adequate venting and draining holes can really have an intangible effect. It’s hard to put a dollar amount on what happens when a structure either doesn’t have proper venting, or one of the five stated above occurs. It’s usually not too hard to correct if it’s caught up front, but the further it gets in the process and closer to delivery dates, is when you might start scrambling. All the man hours it takes to call the engineer on record to approve revisions, or contact customers, plant personnel, the galvanizer, etc. can really put a stop to production, causing low production numbers and possibly delayed shipping. But working with a trusted steel fabricator, can help to avoid these issues.

excess galvanizing buildup

Some standard shape structures, such as square and rectangular tube columns and beams, are hollow, so provisions need to be made in order to allow galvanizing to easily flow and coat the inside portion of the structure. Other standard shape structures, like channels, wide flanges and angles, are solid so just the outside receives coating, which means air pockets and excessive galvanizing buildup can form. For these shapes, you need to watch where stiffeners, connection plates and brackets are welded that could form large pockets of air as the section is dipped into the kettle. Tapered tubular structures are the same as square and rectangle tubes, in the sense of being hollow.

For standard shape and tapered tubular structures, using removable cover plates on the ends of beams is a good option instead of welding solid plates to the ends. This allows for faster flow through the member and more adequate galvanizing.

Now, also to keep in mind, ensuring proper venting doesn’t mean place a bunch of holes all over the structure, but rather strategically supply the venting and drainage provisions. For example, if dealing with corners in a square and rectangular tube, slots or holes can be provided near these corners to prevent air pockets from forming, which can decrease the amount of galvanizing coating in the area.

The more you understand how the member is lifted and dipped in and out of the galvanizing kettle, the better you can locate the venting and draining provisions. As a designer, you are always trying to find the balance of putting enough holes for galvanizing while not putting too many to affect the structural integrity of the steel member.

 

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Tags: standard shape steel structures, galvanized steel, steel fabricator, galvanized structural steel, rectangular steel tube, steel square tube

More than just Standard Steel Poles...

Posted by Brooke Barone on Sep 20, 2012 10:07:00 AM

Aerial view of our plant in Pineville, LAIt’s always hard when you’re first starting out and trying to establish yourself and your company, but with perseverance and an appetite for success, growth is inevitable.

In the beginning, DIS-TRAN only manufactured standard shape steel structures; however, we were always in need of steel poles. We established a great relationship with a company here in Louisiana who we purchased our steel poles from until a larger company came in and bought them out and shut their plant down. This forced us to reach out to other companies across the country.

Right around this time, in the late 90’s, cell phones were rapidly catching on and cellular towers were going up everywhere. Contractors were purchasing tons of steel pole capacities, so it became very hard for us to get service. One of the problems that we ran into was that we would ship the structural steel out to a site, but then have to wait a month or so for the steel poles to arrive. We all know how that story ended-with unhappy customers.

So, in 1995, DIS-TRAN decided to open up its own steel pole shop and dabble into the market. With only 12 employees in the beginning, it was a huge learning curve, but as the industry grew and became more advanced, so did DIS-TRAN.

DIS-TRAN Steel Pole and DIS-TRAN Steel Fabrication were two separate companies at first, but after we realized we were doubling our internal workload, we decided to merge the two in 2010 to become what is now DIS-TRAN Steel, LLC. In 2006, DIS-TRAN Steel Pole and DIS-TRAN Steel Fab had 149 employees total, and now, six years later, DIS-TRAN Steel has more than doubled that number to 321.

Over the years, we’ve realized that there are some misconceptions about the capabilities of DIS-TRAN Steel since we initially started off just manufacturing steel structures. But we can also design, detail, fabricate and deliver tapered tubular steel structures for the utility industry. 

Our engineering and detailing capabilities allow DIS-TRAN Steel to pursue and be involved in highly technical design projects. With 18 in-house detailers and 10 engineers, including 4 Licensed Professional Engineers (P.E.), we can design any steel structure for the utility industry, whereas some of our competitors require shop-ready drawings.

Whether they are pre-engineered poles, engineered transmission poles or taper tubular substation structures, DIS-TRAN Steel can fabricate it. As one of our guys says, we can design steel structures with as little information as a stick figure on a napkin to fully-detailed drawings because of our in-house expertise and resources.

The investment we have made in our employees goes hand-in-hand with the investment that we have made at our plant, with 4 expansions in 16 years. Customers are always surprised when they tour our plant in Pineville, LA because of how large and advanced it really is. It’s not just this little fabrication shop tucked away in the swamps.

Our state-of-the-art facility is just as large as any other steel fabricating facility in the U.S., sitting on about 60 acres with 300,000 square feet under roof manufacturing space. Some of our most prized possessions at our plant include a fully automated 2500 ton, 60 foot Press Brake with a one-of-a-kind automation software package that our plant operators actually helped design. We also have in-house high definition plasma cutters, robotic welding systems, CNC controlled seam welders and CNC punches for standard shapes.

Something that also surprises many is that we can also supply wood transmission arm assemblies and distribution crossarms through our sister company DIS-TRAN Wood Products, LLC. DIS-TRAN Wood Products has two fabricating facilities, one in Pineville and the other in Vancouver, WA.

Throughout the years, DIS-TRAN has made the investment to meet the demands of the growing industry, and has made sure to keep up as the elite supplier, consistently providing the highest quality products.

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Tags: steel structures, utility industry, wood transmission assemblies, DIS-TRAN Steel, tapered tubular steel poles, DIS-TRAN Wood Products, wood distribution poles, pre-engineered poles, transmission poles, standard shape steel structures

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