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Turn Problems into Power: Overcome the Top 5 Challenges of Substation Design

Hagerman & Company

In the heart of the electrical distribution system, substations are not just physical structures but pivotal hubs of energy and innovation. They embody the frontline in our quest for a smart, resilient, and sustainable energy future. Yet, this sector stands at a crossroads, grappling with aging infrastructure, driving an urgent need for digital transformation.

Accomplishing this means overcoming a myriad of challenges – from the Herculean task of managing complex data migrations to the necessity of adopting standardized workflows across the board. The electrical distribution systems, in particular, are under pressure to modernize. They must cope with the demands of managing designs that are getting more complex, and with shorter turnaround times.

This means crafting a digital ecosystem where information flows seamlessly, and where every piece of data is accessible to the engineers who need it.

In this article, we'll explore the intricate challenges that lie ahead, and how Hagerman can help you confront them.

Challenge 1: Outdated Technology and Workflows

In substation design and construction, outdated technology and workflows act as anchors, dragging down the potential for innovation and efficiency. The reliance on old systems slows down the process of delivering technological advancements that integrate renewable energy sources and implement smart grid technologies effectively. As demands for energy evolve, the gap between capability and necessity widens, leaving the industry at a disadvantage.

Utility providers face the challenge of updating their infrastructure. But this isn't just about replacing old software with new. It's an opportunity to rethink how to design, integrate, and automate processes to future-proof operations. The stakes are high, as outdated workflows can lead to increased costs, reduced reliability, and missed opportunities.

We recognize the urgency of modernizing substation design. Our arsenal includes state-of-the-art design software like Autodesk Inventor®, Revit®, and AutoCAD, alongside project collaboration tools such as Autodesk Vault®, Accruent Meridian®, and Autodesk Construction Cloud®. We have the experience and expertise to help you transform systems and workflows to meet the demands of tomorrow's energy landscape.

Challenge 2: Inefficient Data Management

Outdated technology means outdated data management. And that’s a significant bottleneck for substation design and construction today. The challenge is twofold: handling volumes of data while making that data work smarter. From key design parameters to manufacturing data models, the ability to access, analyze, and act on information quickly is pivotal. Yet, substation project teams are vulnerable to disjointed systems that stifle this flow of information. That leads to delays, increased errors, and missed opportunities for optimization.

Without a cohesive system to manage this data, substation manufacturers struggle to leverage their full potential. The repercussions are far-reaching, affecting everything from speed-to-market to issue resolution times. Substation project teams need solutions that can integrate disparate sources into a single, accessible, and actionable platform.

Hagerman & Company helps companies not just manage data but empower it. By offering on-premises and SaaS-based Engineering Document Management solutions like Autodesk Vault® or Accruent Meridian, we connect people, processes, and data across the board. Our approach ensures that every piece of data, no matter how small, is a cog in a well-oiled machine.

Challenge 3: Lack of Standardization Across Projects

The substation teams face another formidable challenge in the lack of standardization across projects. This inconsistency makes it difficult for engineers and designers to collaborate effectively. Often, each project seems to reinvent the wheel, leading to increased costs and extended timelines.

Standardizing workflows, toolkits, and libraries is necessary to drive innovation and ensure the sector's compatibility. The absence of common standards leads to siloed efforts and missed opportunities for leveraging shared knowledge and resources.

The SDS Industry Consortium's efforts to establish common workflows, shared libraries, and common standards reflect the need to overcome this challenge. Implementing these standards will likely require adopting new workflows, expertise in systems integration and project implementation, change management, and training, all of which Hagerman is well-equipped to provide.

Challenge 4: Difficulty in Managing Complex Data Migration Projects

New technology presents a complex puzzle: the task of migrating data across systems. Transitioning from legacy systems to modern platforms is fraught with risks of data loss and compatibility issues. Each migration project is a high-wire act. You must balance preserving data integrity with the transition to more advanced systems.

This difficulty is compounded by the diverse formats and standards of old data. Without meticulous planning and execution, valuable legacy data can become inaccessible or corrupted.

That’s where Hagerman is a valuable partner: Our team brings deep expertise in legacy data migration so your substation can create a healthy digital ecosystem. We direct a smooth transition to modern systems like Autodesk Vault or Accruent Meridian. By carefully planning and executing data migration strategies, Hagerman protects the integrity of your critical data. Our team ensures that your substation can leverage its past to power the future.

Challenge 5: The Need for Continuous Support and Training

Overcoming all of the above challenges requires the adoption of new technology, new workflows, and in some cases, completely new ways of working and collaboration. This means more than just a one-time training and change management exercise, but also continuous training and reinforcement thereafter. The gap between the introduction of new technologies and the workforce's ability to effectively utilize them can lead to increased inefficiencies and risks.

Without access to comprehensive training and support, substation project teams are likely to struggle to maximize the potential of their investments in new technologies.

Our approach is to provide clients with detailed project roadmaps, implementation plans, and a custom services portfolio. Substation teams are equipped with the latest technologies and also have the knowledge and support necessary to leverage these tools effectively. Through ongoing training and support, Hagerman empowers substation teams to confidently navigate the ongoing complexities of modern energy.

Empowering Substations for Tomorrow: How Hagerman Lights the Way

Challenges mean opportunities for transformation and growth. Embracing change, backed by Hagerman's expertise in design, integration, and automation, enables substations to not only meet these challenges head-on but thrive in an increasingly dynamic energy landscape.

Our team is ready to partner with you, offering the tools, knowledge, and support needed to harness the full potential of modern technology.

Are you ready to elevate your business’s performance and resilience? Let Hagerman & Company guide you through the complexities of digital transformation. Contact us today to discover how we can tailor our solutions to your unique challenges. Let’s empower you to design, integrate, and automate your way to a brighter energy future.