Factory-Built Substations (FBS) yield significant benefits, including time savings, cost efficiencies, and substantially reduced risk related to safety and project execution.
But is it still possible to preserve all of those benefits if the substation is so large it must be constructed in multiple segments, even in the factory? This project tested our ability to deliver all the advantages of FBS structures with a challenging design that would normally have compromised those gains.
Thankfully, we passed the test.
Specifically, this customer had never used a FBS before, and they were hoping to reap all the normal time and cost savings; but they also immediately threw us a curveball. They provided go-by drawings, but their preferred design specifications meant a structure larger than what we usually factory-build. That introduced expense and logistical challenges for shipping – in fact, as drawn, it might have been literally impossible to ship conventionally – and it would also mandate extra steps in the field to assemble.
The challenge was ensuring that the design would meet their requirements but still maximize all of the advantages of factory construction. To do so, we adapted the design to keep shipping costs low: ship it in two pieces and install one on top of the other as our first-ever “double-decker” box structure substation.
It worked: the structure reached the site with no issues just when they wanted it, so we were able to preserve the speed and cost-of-transport advantages of the FBS. Then, even though field workers still had to attach the two pieces in the field, we made it easy, and the structure took only about an hour to install. The FBS wins the day again!
The customer certainly thought so. After all was said and done, our first-time customer became an immediate repeat customer.