This conduit installation at the roof level of an electrical room demonstrates the infrastructure necessary to serve the many power needs of a large manufacturing facility.

August 9, 2022

Interdisciplinary Collaboration is Vital in Designing Electrical Systems

Whether it’s powering heating, cooling or automated assembly lines in massive manufacturing facilities, reliable electricity makes business go.

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Electricity is the lifeblood of virtually every facility.

Whether it’s the heating, cooling and network operations of high-tech office buildings or the automated assembly lines of massive manufacturing facilities, reliable electricity makes business go.

“If you want lights in your building and power serving the equipment inside that building, you have to have an electrical engineer involved,” said Tina Sanchez, a design director for Haskell’s Electrical Engineering practice. “If the packaging team wants to add a new conveying system within a building, you have to have an electrical engineer there to say, ‘Well, it has all these little motors, so how are you going to power them?’

“You have to have an electrical engineer as part of your team.”

Collaboration is essential to the Haskell Electrical team’s approach to any project, working in concert with other design disciplines and engaging with the client to craft innovative solutions to energy needs. Sanchez, who has served as everything from a project manager to a lead electrical engineer, is representative of talented and experienced professionals on every Haskell project.

Integrating Engineering Disciplines Early

She pointed to a prominent food and beverage client that tasked Haskell with upgrading the HVAC system at one of its facilities so it could cool the building from 72 degrees to 60 degrees, a dramatic change for a large facility. The changes required mechanical engineers to ensure the appropriate cooling systems could be integrated into the design and electrical engineers for the planning and installation of systems to support the increased energy requirements.

For Sanchez, the example speaks to the importance of integrating the disciplines early in the process.

“Electrical is a necessary component for most design-build projects, particularly in process engineering and packaging engineering,” Sanchez said. “The way I look at it is that if you’re going to build a building, you need multiple disciplines like architectural and civil disciplines for the site and structural engineering for the skeleton. But you have to have mechanical, plumbing and electrical woven in from the beginning to address utilities to the building and from the building. Coordination with the local electrical company can make or break some projects.”

Overcoming Renovation Challenges

This is especially crucial when clients are evaluating renovation projects. Developing electrical systems from scratch in a new design gives engineers some flexibility in identifying potential solutions, but in an older facility facing an overhaul or expansion, the challenges increase.

Sanchez noted that Haskell often engages with clients evaluating those possibilities, providing counsel on whether proposed renovations require upgraded electrical systems. If new systems are needed, her team determines how to incorporate them into the existing buildings.

That level of strategic support is crucial, offering the insights needed on everything from a new automation system for a manufacturing facility to the wiring of basic electrical connections for office furniture. Regardless of energy needs, Haskell Electrical ensures that reliable power is available to illuminate buildings, power heavy machinery and support essential systems for security, communications and life safety.

This work begins with planning and development and extends through the lifespan of the facility itself, as the team relies on collaboration and creativity to develop solutions for every client.

“We hit just about every electrical design component of a building that you can imagine,” Sanchez said. “With our team, if one engineer doesn’t have capacity, someone else does. We’ve got the expertise and experience to design and support every system within the electrical discipline.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Electrical engineers design electrical systems power each facility’s energy needs, including heating, lighting, life safety and security systems, computer networks and large-scale manufacturing lines.

Electrical engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, and testing electrical equipment. They are responsible for the design, construction and operation of electrical systems in buildings, vehicles, power plants and other systems. They are also responsible for the research and development of new electrical systems and products.

An electrical engineer uses their knowledge of mathematics and science to design and build products and systems that meet specific power requirements. They also design and develop new equipment and systems to improve the efficiency of existing products and systems.

Electrical systems are made up of electrical components such as circuit breakers, transformers, fuses, switches, wires, and junction boxes. Electrical systems are responsible for providing electrical power to a building or structure. Electrical system design is the act of creating solutions to meet the electrical demands of a building or structure safely, efficiently and cost-effectively.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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