DIS-TRAN Steel Blog

Engineering Schools, Jobs and Resources

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Mar 22, 2017 6:43:00 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

DIS-TRAN Steel’s Quality Engineering Practices Ensure Towers Are Built to Last

Posted by DIS-TRAN Steel on Aug 23, 2016 11:57:19 AM

On Dec. 14, 2009, the failure of a broadcast tower in Tulsa, Oklahoma had engineers scratching their heads. The chief engineer said when the guy wire was tested a few months earlier “everything seemed fine.”

Remarkably, 31% of all substation tower failures occur because of the construction crew’s poor judgment or a lack of basic engineering know-how, according to a recent Consolidated Engineering Inc. (CEI) report. Engineering oversights can cause a significant risk to the integrity of a tower and its foundation, which can ultimately lead to collapse.

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DIS-TRAN Steel has built its company on simple values backed by honest customer relationships. Since 1965, customers have put their trust in us to deliver products – from simple substation structures to complex transmission poles – that are made using the best manufacturing process and the highest-quality engineering in the industry.

We offer the kind of security that comes from knowing exactly who is designing and fabricating your structures and how.

Unfortunately, some standards aren’t consistent across the industry. The CEI report found the top five causes of tower failure are caused by construction errors, ice, aircraft, special winds and anchor failure. The Tulsa tower’s failure was attributed to the latter two factors.

A CEI forensic specialist found in every wind induced tower failure he investigated, the tower wouldn’t have passed the current design code. It is important to design, manufacture and erect per current design codes to minimize the risk of poor structure integrity.  Quality issues are not only costly, but dangerous as well.

So how can you ensure you’re working with the right manufacturer?

  • Look for solid investments in the latest equipment and technology
  • Attention to best practices and quality assurance
  • A focus on hiring the most experienced engineers
  • A commitment to top-notch customer service.

So what has DIS-TRAN Steel done?

  1. Doubled its manufacturing capacity and capabilities at its 300,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility in Pineville, Louisiana
  2. Employ the latest fabricating innovations and rely on real-time scheduling and product tracking to ensure projects never fall behind
  3. Our in-house quality assurance and quality control program ensures every structure is examined by independent quality inspectors
  4. We are certified by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and American Welding Society (AWS) and adhere to a strict quality standard. All of our welds are performed by certified welders and inspected by certified inspectors.
  5. Our engineering department is highly skilled at combining computer-aided design and drafting with numerical control fabricating systems to create the most efficient structures
  6. Provide Project Managers and Coordinators to be at your beck and call for the outstanding service you have come to expect from DIS-TRAN.

After five decades in business, you can trust that DIS-TRAN Steel is using the most innovative technology available to deliver structures that are both sound and incomparable in quality. No one can afford to skimp on quality manufacturing and engineering when it comes to transmission and substation structures. We pride ourselves on the unrivaled attention to detail, solid communication, and genuine customer service that all point to why we’re the elite steel supplier.

Steel Structure Quote Template

Visit DIS-TRAN Steel to learn more about our unique capabilities, mission, team and more.

Tags: substation structures, transmission poles, Engineering

9 Must Haves for a Steel Structure Specification

Posted by Wendy Gintz on Apr 22, 2015 3:30:00 PM

Specification are to Steel Structures like...Cherries are to a Banana Split.BananaSplit

Specifications come in all shapes and sizes.

From the very informal 3 page document to the all-encompassing formidable documents.  The specification is a tool for the Owner (End User) to convey their minimum project requirements to the supplier.  Defined by Wikipedia, it is a set of documented requirements to be satisfied by a material, design, product or service and also a type of technical standard.

In the utility industry we see specifications presented in many different formats.  As a result, it is very important that a specification be clear and easy to follow.  Be careful about providing multiple specifications and documents that start contradicting one another. In these wordle_2situations the Owner’s requirements and overall message can get lost in a sea of documents resulting in different interpretations by the suppliers.  This can ultimately lead to proposals that can’t be compared properly, Owners not getting what they want, or additional unforeseen costs. When it comes to fabricating substation and transmission steel structures there are many variables that need to be relayed during the design, detail, and fabrication phases.  These specifications provide that direction.  Whether you are using an already created specification, updating a previous version or crafting a brand new one, there are certain sections you want to include.  Below are 9 sections that are not to be missed when deciding the content for your specifications. 

  1. Purpose/Scope – This is the heart of the document.  This is the owner’s chance to define the purpose of the document and clearly layout their expectations for the scope of work.  Example: Intended to serve as a system wide guide for structural design of steel structures.
  2. References – This section typically lists out the required design standards and any other applicable documents.   (e.g. ASTM Standards, ASCE Design Stanards, etc.) 
  3. Submittals – This section typically covers the owner’s expectations of any document to be submitted by the supplier.  This includes things like bid proposal requirements listing out the needed forms and design summaries.  It also covers formal design and drawing submittal requirements.
  4. Loading and Geometry – If the scope of work includes design, this section typically covers the minimum information needed by the Structure Designer to design the structures.  This would include things like loading criteria, unique weather conditions and terrain for the service area, and any other usual loading conditions the designer should consider.    This section also covers the different structure types, general layout of the structures, and the types of connections permitted.  (e.g. slip-fit vs. flange, embedded vs. base plated)
  5. Design – This section typically includes any restrictions to the design, material, field erection, fabrication, etc.  Examples of this include anchor bolt circle limits, minimum material thicknesses allowed, deflection limits, aesthetic preferences, weight limitations, etc.
  6. Fabrication – This covers owner’s expectations of workmanship and quality. 
  7. Finishing/Coating – What type of coating is supposed to be used such has galvanizing, painting, sandblasted, etc.
  8. Inspection – This section typically covers the type of inspections and testing required for the project. 

Of course these are just a few of the main sections.  There may be other sections that pertain to your specific product need, corporate formalities and/or industry.  No matter what your final Specification Document instills, it is important that you and those that use them agree on what is expected from a product and/or service.  This form of communication between the two parties can be a key component to a successful project.

How do you communicate your expectations to your vendors?  We would love to hear from you so please leave a comment below and let us know if this information has been useful.

Pole Design References

Tags: substation design, specific standards for structures, Engineering, design of steel transmission pole structures

4 Things to Keep in Mind When Testing Transmission Davit Arms

Posted by Brooke Barone on Sep 12, 2014 2:56:47 PM

We like to call our engineers at DIS-TRAN Steel “myth busters.” Their day is spent crunching numbers and designing steel structures based off of standards, customer specifications and experience. Although they rarely get the opportunity to see their designs performing in the field, they love seeing their “babies” put to the test.

In a continuous effort by our Research and Development team, we recently conducted a full scale testing for transmission davit arms. Not only did we gain insight to how our arms performed, but we were also able to boost our confidence (and some bragging rights).

arm_2_110 It’s always good to have empirical knowledge through testing and research to confirm assumptions and know where improvements can be made, eliminating surprises in the field.

When testing, you want to make sure that your samples are a good representation for what will be in the field. Below we’ve listed out four things to keep in mind when testing transmission arms:

1. Make sure you have a good overall sampling- especially if you’re testing for a particular project where there can be different types of arms. For example, you might want to test a conductor or static arm, or if there are several tangents and deadends, you could test one of each.

2. As a fabricator, you don’t want to notify the shop that these particular arms are being tested. You want to be able to just pull an arm off of the shop floor that properly represents a typical arm that would be supplied on a project. Don’t do anything special to it that wouldn’t be done on a typical job.

 3. Make sure a representative from the fabricator is there to ensure that the arm is bolted to the testing apparatus properly and that’s its being installed similar to how it would be in the field. You want to make sure that everything from fabrication to how it’s loaded and installed is as close as possible to how it is in the field so that you get true test results.

 4. Make sure the loads that are applied correctly represent design conditions of the field. You want to get it as close as possible to what is really going to be in the field.

After everything is loaded and taken down, it’s very important that there is a thorough inspection to look for any damages, like cracks or permanent deformation. 

While the purpose is to test the whole unit together, you can also break it down even further to see how other components, like hardware or connections, behaved under loadings. This provides proof and validity to your design standards.

Key things to remember: gain as much knowledge from the tests; have a true representation of what will be in the field in order to get true, honest results and make sure the arms can take the ultimate loads they were designed for.

The main goal with all the four steps listed above is to truly represent what is going to be in the field. You don’t want to assume anything, nor do you want to cheat. If you specially prepare the arm for testing, ultimately you’re cheating yourself and the end user. You want to know what to truly expect so that if anything pops up, you can make corrections for future designs.

DIS-TRAN Davit Arm Results  

Tags: Engineering, transmission davit arms

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider an Alliance Partnership

Posted by Brooke Barone on Mar 19, 2013 9:05:00 AM

Being a VIP, no matter the situation, is always a good feeling. Not only is it a feeling of importance and status, but it comes with perks that improve your overall experience. Getting to skip a line at a concert, getting the best seats in the house or experiencing top-notch service in a business venture are all aspects of being a VIP.

So what are some of the perks of being an Alliance Partner?

Well, for starters every detail of your project from start to finish is communicated directly to you, service is tailored to deliver top quality solutions and your needs are anticipated beforehand. Communication and information flow is enhanced by having a personal “go-to” Alliance Coordinator who provides a seamless operation, enabling you to relax and know that the job will get done, no matter the situation at hand.

Alliance Jenn

Alliance Coordinators work with their partners on a day-to-day basis, even answering emails or phone calls at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night. It’s not just their job that they are doing; it’s being loyal to a relationship they built. They get to know you on a personal level and understand your needs and wants. They’re on your side, fighting to get you the best possible delivery date, paired with the highest quality product and experience. They are your customer advocate.

What to look for in an Alliance Partner?

You want to make sure the partner you choose has the knowledge, experience and longevity in the industry to meet your requirements as well as agreed upon lead times. Their capacity is also an important factor, along with their ability to have open communication both ways.

5 Reasons Why You Should Become an Alliance Partner

  1. You have the ability to lock in production space ahead of time.
  2. Improved lead times since there’s no need to issue a quote or approve pricing.
  3. Terms and conditions are already in place and no need to evaluate bids.
  4. A familiarity is developed and the Engineering staff can design specific standards for structures that are the most efficient and cost effective.
  5. You have a customer advocate dedicated to you and all your project needs.

Pricing for partnerships is negotiated and can be a combination of firm pricing, structure type pricing or estimated price per pound with final price known when the design is complete.

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Tags: Alliance Coordinator, customer advocate, specific standards for structures, project needs, Alliance Partnership, Engineering, alliance partner

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