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Aurecon a South African Innovation Award finalist

3d Sidwawa Substation

3D Model of Sidwawa Substation

27 October 2015 - Aurecon was named as a 2015 South African Innovation Awards finalist by MyWorld of Tomorrow, in partnership with Business Connexion and Business Day.

The aim of the South African Innovation Awards is to recognise innovation among local businesses. Aurecon, together with other companies, attended the Gala Dinner held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 21 October.

Aurecon was shortlisted for their use of innovative, intelligent 3D modelling for the refurbishment of the Sidwawa Substation in the Eastern Cape. Aurecon Project Manager, Barry Grib, and Distribution & Transmission Engineer, Johan van der Westhuizen, say that it was an honour to be shortlisted for the award.

“In order to qualify for the award, companies were required to showcase how their project or solution has a positive impact on the environment, how it positively affects business and its people and how the innovation increases efficiency and reduces costs,” says Grib.

As part of the project, Aurecon was tasked with removing old equipment from King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality’s Sidwawa Substation and installing new, upscaled equipment in order to improve the capacity of the substation, as well as increase the reliability of sustainable electricity supply to customers.

“The existing footprint of the equipment was not compatible with the changes made to the legislation regarding fire risks and equipment safety. The close proximity of the oil-filled equipment in relation to the other high voltage equipment posed a high risk of fire damage to all equipment in the event of an oil spill. However, the construction of firewalls also presented an electrical clearance risk for the overhead lines due to the required height of the firewalls,” says Grib.

Aurecon used innovative, intelligent 3D modelling to create process documents that gave more detail on direct distances from the structures to the overhead lines. The 3D model was a realistic visual aid in adjusting the layout of the equipment to compensate for inadequate electrical clearances. The 3D images allowed the equipment arrangements to be changed around until the standards on electrical clearances were met.

“The 3D modelling that the project team implemented essentially mitigates and limits the risks related to an oil spill. This was achieved without increasing the costs to the project,” says Van der Westhuizen.

The intelligent data links that were embedded in equipment properties also contributed to significant gains in productivity. In addition, the 3D modelling helped to overcome the challenges that are prevalent when working in confined spaces and safety zones. Engineers were able to minimise safety risks within the visual model before any potential damages occurred.

Aurecon is currently working with Eskom to develop a Building Information Modeling (BIM) enabled methodology which will establish a universal standard for substations. Using the same software and technology as clients places Aurecon in the ideal position to stay at the forefront of BIM technology and to advise clients on how they can extract most value.

“Aurecon was an early adopter of 3D design and BIM and we have been using this technology for over 15 years. We are continually evolving our capabilities as the world and our clients become increasingly more digital. I believe that innovative 3D design is spearheading a future generation of substation designs which benefit clients by providing reliable, high-quality designs that can be produced speedily and cost-effectively,” concludes Grib.

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