Building customer confidence with predictive simulation

What formerly would have required in numerous prototypes and years of real-world accelerated life testing to validate design confidence, can now be accomplished virtually.

Modern solutions meet conventional requirements

As the demand for electric power increases across the globe expanding to new, more remote and extreme locations, the creation of new power grid infrastructure to serve this demand necessitates innovative solutions.  The devices that are used to serve these markets – wire, cable, interfaces, switches, interrupters, breakers, and reclosers – are functionally static. They perform their jobs consistently and repeatably for their lifetime. But, how can power providers integrate these proven devices into their distribution networks and ensure their survival in environments as disparate as:

  • complete submersion in a sewage-filled vault beneath a New York City block;
  • mounted to a ground-level concrete pad experiencing 200+ mph wind and saltwater submersion during a hurricane in Hawaii; or
  • suspended 30 feet in the air, coated in ice and snow at sub-zero temperatures with blizzard force winds in the woods of Canada?

When serving these varied markets, traditional design would only be able to provide a rudimentary baseline of expected performance. Is there a solution to instill confidence in electrical service providers that the apparatus they have purchased will supply their customers consistent and reliable power for 10, 20, or even 30 years?

The answer to this question “yes” with a strong traditional design supported by advanced computational simulation.  What formerly would have required in numerous prototypes and years of real-world accelerated life testing to validate design confidence, can now be accomplished virtually.

Simulation and Finite Element Analysis

With the ability to provide modern computer-aided design coupled with advanced simulation and Finite Element Analysis (FEA), ABB Elastimold® establishes a high level of design confidence in a customized apparatus installation before transitioning to the prototype and/or production stage.  Utilizing the powerful combination of 3D modelling with computer-aided design applications, such as PTC Creo and the FEA capabilities of Ansys, Elastimold® can provide comprehensive simulations for different fabrication materials, loading scenarios (wind, ice, etc.), and lifetime performance expectations of customized apparatus designs.

One of our most recent collaborations required mounting over 800 pounds of apparatus and framing at approximately 30 feet above ground level.  The environmental requirements for the design of this potential installation required factoring in additional loading considerations of a 1/2-inch thick coating of ice, 40 mph winds from any direction, and seismic analysis.  Additionally, the framework required a safety factor of 2.5 and a requested service life of 30+ years was requested due to the potential for residential area installation. Upon completion of our traditional design and 3D modelling in PTC Creo, virtual simulations for these environmental requirements were performed in Ansys. The process identified several design improvements which were then implemented.

Traditional 3D design supplemented with computer-aided Finite Element Analysis offered by Elastimold enables high design confidence for custom applications making the collaboration of traditional and computer assisted design a modern solution for a conventional requirement.

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Arthur Havrilla

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