SDS Product Suite Supports 3D, Intelligent Substation Design with AutoCAD

NOVEMBER 18, 2019

SBS is announcing a new product this week at the Substation Design Solution Industry Consortium (SDSIC) meeting, held in conjunction with Autodesk University 2019 in Las Vegas. We are enhancing our industry-leading utility distribution design product, Automated Utility Design (AUD) to now support 3D, substation design. Substation Design Suite Physical for AutoCAD joins the Substation Design Suite Physical for Inventor and Protection & Controls products in rounding out a robust suite of intelligent substation design applications. SDS – Physical for AutoCAD will be generally available during the second quarter of 2020.

What is SDS – Physical for AutoCAD?

Substation Design Suite Physical for AutoCAD complements the existing Substation Design Suite products to provide a number of capabilities that our user community has been looking to accomplish with the SDS products. First off, the product is now based on the industry-leading AutoCAD platform. For many years our user community has asked for an offering that reduces the need for the specialized training needed to develop proficiency in the SDS Physical for Inventor product, which is based on AutoCAD Inventor.

The core Automated Utility Design platform also provides an extensive number of features that will enable more efficient, higher-quality substation designs. This includes:
• Intelligent placement of 3D substation components
• The ability to design in 2-dimensional space and then toggle to 3D placement and visualization
• Bus and flexible conductor placement
• Conduit and trench design
• Ground grid design
• Embedded engineering analysis, including cable pulling tension, voltage drop, bus fault-force calculations and lightning design
• Bill of material creation
• Product-level integration with work and asset management systems such as SAP, IBM Maximo, CGI ARM and others via the SBS Utility DataHub™.
• GIS integration, including support for the Esri Utility Network Model Extension, via Utility DataHub™


Why SDS – Physical for AutoCAD?

SBS has been actively enhancing the Substation Design Suite products for over 3 years. The feedback we have received, combined with our own vision for the future, has caused us to realize that now is the time to make some significant, platform-level enhancements to take the SDS product family to the next level. SDS – Physical for AutoCAD provides a platform for long-term growth for the SDS user community.
One particularly important capability is the ability to handle very large point clouds. This is based on some recent enhancements within the core AutoCAD platform that AUD can exploit. This, combined with the ability to readily incorporate existing 2D substation design files, addresses long-standing requirements our user community has requested to enable existing (brownfield) substation design projects.

The rich data compatibility offered by AUD and AutoCAD is also an inherent feature that serves to simplify substation design workflows. AUD has proven mechanisms to support open data sharing with other AutoCAD-based products, including AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D and AutoCAD Electric. This is particularly important when integrating with 3rd-party products that perform advanced analysis in such areas as ground grid design, lighting and civil engineering site work.

AUD also supports a very rich network topology model. As the product matures, we see some very significant opportunities to streamline the integration between physical substation design and protection and controls. We believe this will address developing industry standards and associated requirements for improved data management and automation.


SDS – Physical for Inventor Still Plays an Important Role

The SDS – Physical for Inventor product will continue to remain the primary tool for authoring the 3D content that is used to generate intelligent designs within SDS – Physical for AutoCAD. SBS realizes that SDS – Physical for Inventor will be particularly important for utility standards organizations that have the important role of managing the exchange of information between the vendor community and engineering designers. SBS is committed to protecting the investment SDS clients have made in SDS – Physical for Inventor. We are also taking a number of steps to automate utility content workflows in a manner that will offer additional flexibility when working with external vendor 3D data content. This includes a continued investment in 3D parametric configurators.

So How Much Is This Going to Set Me Back?

SBS has a commitment to drive down the overall cost of implementing intelligent utility design. SDS – Physical for AutoCAD will help the SDS user community to significantly gain cost savings in a number of areas. These include:
• Better design productivity via improved ease-of-use
• Reduced training costs
• Faster, lower-cost implementations via product-level tools that support agile delivery
• Reduced support costs via rule-based configuration, rather than product customizations
• Reduction in Organizational Change Management (OCM) impacts
• More efficient system administration
• Lower base license costs

We sincerely look forward to hearing from our user community and those prospective users who are interested in learning more about SDS – Physical for AutoCAD. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions for us. We also encourage you to join the Substation Design Solution Industry Consortium (SDSIC). We will be working closely with SDSIC members to provide product development guidance as we bring SDS – Physical for AutoCAD to the substation design marketplace.