With 600 electrical engineers worldwide, Arup needs an electrical design software package that can meet all of its needs for all designs carried out in countries that conform to IEC standards. These requirements include ease of sharing information internally and with third parties such as other consultants, contractors and quantity surveyors. Functionality is also an important consideration as Arup is involved in major projects with complex designs, so it is important that the software system provides the required level of sophistication while being easy and quick to use. A high level of technical support to help ensure the software is used to its full potential is also essential.
Arup has been using Trimble software (formally Amtech) since the late 1990s and prior to that had been using an in-house developed electrical design product. On reviewing options, the company evaluated a number of the proprietary products on the market. The design features and functionality of ProDesign led the company to choose Trimble.
Arup now uses Designer Suite which incorporates Trimble’s ProDesign, Protect HV, Powernet HV and SingleCable. The company reviews the software occasionally, comparing it with other products to confirm that Trimble still offers the best solution.
Meeting the Challenges
Trimble's ProDesign software is used by Arup engineers throughout the world for all electrical designs carried out to IEC standards, with the outputs from the software being used in different ways. For example, they may be sent to a contractor for the design to be developed further to take account of installation factors. Design information may also be sent to a quantity surveyor to estimate an element of work.
Arup also makes extensive use of Trimble’s Protect for co-ordination studies to check the compatibility of protection devices.
The integration between the two packages makes the whole process much quicker, compared to manual methods, and facilitates more complex areas of the work, such as working with adjustable breakers. The fact that any changes in one program are automatically updated in the other also ensures that design changes are carried out very efficiently.
Trimble’s PowerNet HV is used for shortcircuit analysis in both high voltage and low voltage distribution systems.
To accommodate so many engineers using Trimble software, Arup has created an intranet based Electrical Skills Network that has a section devoted to Trimble. This provides a knowledge base that can be updated regularly, as well as enabling engineers to share information in a forum. When an issue arises that cannot be resolved internally, Mike Summers turns to Trimble’s support team for an answer and this information is then added to the knowledgebase.
Arup also maintains regular contact with Trimble's R&D teams, providing feedback that can be incorporated into future generations of the software. For example, the recent inclusion of conductor temperatures in the latest version of ProDesign was a direct result of engagement between the two companies.
''We are very pleased with the performance of the software and the way it responds to changes in regulations and standards''
- Mike Summers, Associate
Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. Founded in 1946 with an initial focus on structural engineering, the company has evolved into a truly multi-disciplinary organisation with offices throughout the world.
Arup puts sustainability at the heart of its projects and invests heavily in research and development to drive the innovation that has become the company’s hallmark.