GE Grid Solutions develops solutions for transmitting current from the power plant to the end user. With its 70 industrial locations and a wide network covering more than 100 countries, GE Grid Solutions belongs to the global market leaders for power transmission and distribution. It previously operated under the name of Areva T&D and then under Alstom Grid. The company‘s 20,000 staff members concentrate on two lines of business: the development and control of increasingly complex power supply systems and the setup and operation of high and medium voltage installations. The engineers need a complete and precise technical documentation to design such electrical systems.
In the past each department had its own solutions for creating electrical schematics and technical documents. Moreover the design of some tools had been developed decades ago. This lack of uniformity impeded the communication between the countries. Several solutions were moreover no longer able to meet the demands, a fact that reduced the quality of the technical documentation. To eliminate sources of error, one decided to automate the engineering processes and to provide the different locations with a common multiuser tool.
Before standardizing the work processes and CAD tools, the engineers thoroughly analyzed all requirements of the units concerned. The goal was to determine which software product designed for electrical engineering best meets the demands. Four engineering tools were the final contestants. „In the end we decided in favor of the Engineering Base solution (EB) from AUCOTEC“, reports Olivier Hapetian, Electrical CAD Control Manager at the time EB was introduced. „The system uses Microsoft Office Visio. Moreover it contains a quality management tool enabling us to create an error free documentation“.
EB offers unique editing options, for example it can design the model of an electrical installation using just the basic data – it is no longer necessary to generate a graphical draft in advance. Moreover different objects can be associated alphanumerically in Engineering Base. Michaela Imbusch, product manager at AUCOTEC, presents another advantage: „Many electrical engineering objects can be edited quickly and simply as in an Excel document using worksheets. The point is: The objects are immediately updated.“ It takes the technicians only a few steps to create complex schematics of components, circuits or cable diagrams. Moreover it is possible to automate changes and complex processes. Programming with Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications or Microsoft .NET Framework can be done via an integrated application program interface (API).