DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

SUBSTATIONS: 3 Common Steel Structures Found Inside

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Feb 26, 2015 7:54:00 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.



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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

Two ASCE Must-Have References for Transmission & Substation Design

Posted by Brooke Barone on May 29, 2013 4:28:00 PM

Whether you’re a seasoned Engineer or still working on your P.E., there are a few ASCE must-haves when it comes to designing substations and transmission structures.

The first reference, Substation Structure Design Guide, also referred to as ASCE Manual 113, was first published in 2008 and is the first of its kind for substation design. The second must-have is the Design of Steel Transmission Pole Structures, also known as ASCE Standard 48-11.

Now let’s see how good you are…

Do you know the main difference in the two? (Besides the obvious that one is intended for substation design and the other for transmission pole.)

Well, if you said one is a guide and the other is a standard then you are correct! It should be addressed that while guides, standards and codes are all used, there is a difference between them.


There is a level of importance that falls with these, meaning that if a guide contradicts a standard, the standard typically wins, and if a standard contradicts a code, the code typically wins.

The substation design guide is currently being updated along with a handful of other design guides, standards and codes.  Jennifer Gemar, Vice President of the Engineering Department at DIS-TRAN Steel, is on the ASCE 113 Design Committee which is responsible for revising the guide, and has a few updates from the latest meeting that was held in the Houston area last month. 

The plan is to have the revision ready for submittal to ASCE by late 2015.  Since this is the guide’s first time going through a revision, it will remain a design guide with the thoughts that it will eventually become a design standard through enough revisions and time.  Overall, it seems the guide has been well received throughout the industry, especially being the first time published.  It has quickly become a “go-to” book, and a great reference and training tool for newer engineers.  It’s pretty much straight forward, and has general definitions of equipment and types of structures found inside a substation.  The fundamentals are basic, and while it points in the right direction when designing, it doesn’t actually give the formulas to design the steel structures.

 The second book, ASCE Standard 48-11, was published in 2012 as a revision to the ASCE Standard 48-05, that was first published in 2005.  This standard replaced the ASCE Manual 72, which at the time, was the main design reference for transmission pole structures.  The standard outlines the minimum criteria that must be considered in the structural design, fabrication, testing, assembly and erection of these type structures.  Unlike the substation guide, ASCE 48-11 explains how to design steel poles and their corresponding connections.  There is a committee currently updating this standard as well.

It’s important that these references stay updated as knowledge and experience permits.  It’s also beneficial to be active on one of the committees responsible for these updates.  Though it can be hard work, it can also be a very educational with opportunities to contribute and shed light on problems or issues that need addressing.

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Tags: steel structures, DIS-TRAN Steel, transmission, asce manual, asce 113, pole structures, substation design, asce standards, asce, high voltage substation structure design

Want To Be Amazing At The Louisiana Dragon Boat Races? Here's How

Posted by Brooke Barone on May 9, 2013 1:07:00 PM

Ok, so if you’re a newbie like me at this whole Dragon Boat Race thing, then the morning after you rowed, all the body parts the helmsmen told you shouldn’t be sore, are. So, obviously, I wasn't doing something quite right.

The 2013 Louisiana Dragon Boat Races, which raises money for the Alexandria Museum of Art, is being held this Saturday, May 11, beginning at 8 a.m. With 47 teams, it’s going to be a competitive yet exciting experience.

This year, DIS-TRAN Steel and DIS-TRAN Wood Products has two boats; Steel Dragons One and Steel Dragons Two. Our sister companies are also competing. Beta Engineering, or known as the Beta Badgers, will be out there, as well as the High Voltage Dragons, who consist of DIS-TRAN Packaged Substations, Crest Natural Resources, Mid-State Supply and Crest Industries. We have several tents lined up on the left side, so stop by and learn more about our companies and job openings (See, I look out for you HR).

I understand the concept, and know what you’re supposed to do, but after my experience last night at practice, it’s a lot easier said than done. The most important thing to remember though is to keep a steady pace and to be in sync.

Steel Dragons

Every paddler has their flaws, but the strokes need to be short, otherwise you’re doing negative work. If the power is smooth, it allows for a more aerobic action and will be less stressful on the back and shoulders.

So how does one turn into a professional Dragon Boat Slayer within 24 hours? Well, if I said it’s easy, I’d be lying, but if you keep these techniques in mind, then you’ll know that you did everything possible to help your team reach the finish line (whether you come in first or dead last).

1. The Catch

  • The paddle should enter the water gently. As chaotic as it might get with water and paddles flying up, don’t give up on the rotation during the catch and remember to save your power for the pull. Make sure that the paddle is almost vertical when the power starts.

2. Rotation

  • The rotation is the most important source of power. You should extend your hips and spine forward as much as you can while rotating. Your outside shoulder should be traveling straight forward and straight back. Your outside arm needs to extend out with your first hand finishing in the water. Crank powerfully, and finish facing slightly outward.

3. Leg Drive

  • The power starts with your outside leg. You need to drive your hips, knees and upper body back, bending into the next rotation. If possible, the outside knee should be driven back. Using your top hand, the power needs to come late in the stroke, and the top arm should be bent but rigid. The shoulder does the work. Lifting up at a 45 degree angle, quickly shoot the blade forward and finish with a quick and clean exit.

We all have a little (some have a lot) of a competitive nature in us, but the most important thing to remember is that it is a TEAM effort.


Every year, someone is chosen as the Best Dressed Drummer. To support our team and vote for Shea Rax, Steel Dragons One, and Katie Nowlin, Steel Dragons Two- click here.

Shea Rax            Katie Nowlin

Photos by Callie Lohman, CHLPhotography. 

To watch the 2011 USA Dragon Boat team in action for more pointers, check out this video.

For more information and pictures, follow us on Facebook!

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Tags: DIS-TRAN Steel, DIS-TRAN Wood Products, Beta Engineering, Alexandria Museum of Art, DIS-TRAN Pachaged Substation, Crest Industries, Crest Natural Resources, Mid-State Supply, Louisiana Dragon Boat Races

DIS-TRAN Celebrates National Pancake Day

Posted by Brooke Barone on Feb 5, 2013 12:23:00 PM

BB WG Pancake

In lieu of IHOPS’s National Pancake Day, DIS-TRAN Steel made over 100 delicious pancakes to serve their employees for breakfast today.

While IHOP’s free buttermilk short stacks can’t be beat, it's hard to make it over to the restaurant before work, so we decided to partake in this delicious day.  Okay, so maybe pancakes aren’t the healthiest breakfast choice, but they sure hit the spot!

It’s said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and whether you’re a breakfast goer or not, you can’t pass up free, mouthwatering pancakes, especially when they are paired with crispy sausage links (Thanks Guillory's Specialty Meats).

How do you choose since there are numerous recipes, flavors, shapes, sizes and even cinnamon roll pancakes?

Well, I'd give you my grandmother's secret recipe, but then, you know...

I've gathered a list of 10 recipes that sounded too good to be true. Skip the chicken and broccoli tonight, and try one of these scrumptious pancake recipes.

  1. The Best Silver Dollar Pancakes Ever
  2. Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes
  3. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes 
  4. Fruit Explosion Pancakes
  5. Hot Chocolate Pancakes
  6. Multigrain Pancakes
  7. Apple Puff Pancake Pie
  8. Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
  9. Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
  10. Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

If you try one of these recipes, or if you already have, please leave a comment below and give us your thoughts. Also, if you have any other pancakes recipes, please share!

Happy Pancake Day!

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Tags: DIS-TRAN Steel, DIS-TRAN, IHOP National Pancake Day, pancake recipes, National Pancake Day

How do we ensure safety?

Posted by Brooke Barone on Oct 5, 2012 11:59:00 AM

Shortcuts can be killers. So, in every endeavor, DIS-TRAN makes sure to provide the highest level of integrity and safety that our employees deserve so they can return home each day to their loved ones. Safety 1 resized 600

With the quantity and types of materials that we deal with on an everyday basis, our safety processes need to be focused and detailed in order to make our employees feel secure. Our finished products can weigh from one pound to upwards of 50,000 pounds, so handling material in a safe manner is paramount.

Over the past five years, the number of man-hours worked has more than doubled at our plant, while the number of accidents has gone down. To achieve this success, we implement several safety processes on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.

What do we do to protect our employees?

DIS-TRAN Steel uses an Accident Prevention Process to keep employees from being injured.

  • Full-time Safety Coordinator at our plant
  • Aggressive orientation program for all new employees
  • Job Safety Analysis are reviewed prior to every shift
  • Stretches prior to every shift to focus our employees on injury prevention
  • An external safety consultant visits the plant once a month to further train employees
  • Weekly “Tool Box Talks” which is internal training on every topic pertinent to our industry
  • Monthly leader training
  • Audit system to help recognize hazards and correct them before they become an injury
  • PPE worn at all times

Our employees come to work each day ready for whatever task is at hand, and so in return, we owe them a safe and hazard free work environment. To uphold our commitment, we also control hazards using Engineer Control, Administrative Control and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Engineer Control is our intent to engineer all hazards out. Administrative Control is our procedure to change processes in order to make safe. PPE is required to be worn every day, at all times of the day, such as steel toe boots, safety glasses or ear protection.

Fall protection that has a body harness and a self protracting lifeline, is also used at our plant to protect our employees rain or shine.

We also work hand-in-hand with our loss prevention specialist, who works for our insurance company, and visits on a regular basis. This not only ensures that we are in compliance with state and federal guidelines, but it is taking the extra step to guarantee the safety of our employees.


Tags: DIS-TRAN Steel, safety, Accident Prevention Process, engineer control, PPE, administrative control

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