Engineering - BIM and Brownfield Projects

In substation engineering, there are essential concepts in optimizing the design and engineering processes involved. These include using Smart Substation BIM Models - integrated information data model of the substation in 3D - which are ideal in identifying and selecting the most desirable way to design in the early phases of the design process.

To simulate the construction progress over time, BIM 4D - Construction Scheduling Simulation of the 3D substation model is used. For the actual upgrading or extension of a substation, it is also essential to reduce and optimize the time in de-energized states. The optimized order of switching operations can be defined conveniently by Simulating Switching Operations.

The refurbishment, retrofit, extension or upgrade of Existing Substation Projects - Brownfield Projects - still comprise most of the work in the field today and will remain so in the future. It is therefore important to be able to integrate legacy substation projects (through scanned drawings, 2D CAD data or 3D point clouds) into current smart 3D substation projects in order to take advantage of the latest substation engineering methodology.

Smart Substation BIM Models

Smart substation BIM models means identifying and selecting the most desirable way to design - during the design phase and long before the substation details are specified and built. Designing within a smart 3D substation model is the new way to design. In primtech - an object oriented software - the substation is saved as a substation information model consisting of HV objects, embedded 3D geometry and object associations and metadata. In addition, there are smart (intelligent) substation entities that are specialized for substation design - e.g. electrical devices, wires, tubes, foundations, field grids etc. Yes, BIM is not only three dimensional (3D) design - or just a new technology application is much more...

BIM means all stakeholders and experts involved in the design process are working in one integrated information data model using computer-based applications to view data in 3D and easy-to-understand visual diagrams, to determine critical cost factors in the early substation planning phase, to shift the time, effort and cost structures to earlier phases in the substation planning - thereby enabling better decision making. [see "Smart substation information model - challenges in the development of a Building Information Modeling (BIM) based software for substation design", CIGRE Mexico International Colloquium, Mexico City, Oct. 2016]

BIM 4D - Construction Scheduling Simulation

primtech - in collaboration with Navisworks - assists you in Construction Scheduling Simulation i.e. BIM 4D.

The primtech 3D substation model is used within Navisworks to simulate the construction progress, thanks to primtech 3D's export feature and model conversion, which allows the 3D substation model with the substation structure and parts information to be imported. The parts information is displayed when the mouse hovers above the respective part. The material rendering is already pre-defined for better visualization but can also be individually assigned as needed.

Simulate Switching Operations

The process of replacing equipment in an existing substation and the extension of a substation is usually more difficult than creating a new substation. This means several issues need to be considered e.g. construction has to be done around energized equipment, offline time needs to be kept at a minimum and the increase in performance or integration of new technologies into the existing state.

In order to carry out the above-mentioned, it is necessary to define the time intervals in order to define de-energized states. Also, it is necessary to define switching operations of circuit breakers / disconnecting switches for the purpose of physical enabling of the de-energized state in the part of the substation which is of interest. So the challenge is always to define the best way to handle the project such as to save time and costs.

The primtech substation BIM model is key to handling such projects efficiently, because it can help to define the order of switching operations, in order to avoid a lot of time in a de-energized state. With primtech and the integrated calculations and checking tools, it is now easy to simulate switching operations and calculate safety clearances as well.

Existing Substation Projects - Brownfield Projects

For substation engineers, it is not always about greenfield projects. Most of the work is with existing substations - to refurbish, retrofit, extend or upgrade the substation.

As a primtech user, there are different ways to handle such projects using already existing data, like paper documentation or a set of 2D CAD files. With the primtech solution, integrate scanned drawings, or alternatively, import 2D CAD data and work with primtech on a hybrid model (2D for existing, 3D for new components). Furthermore, the import of 3D point clouds (images or laser scans) is possible. This workflow allows the integration of legacy substation projects into current primtech projects.