University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Computerized Transmission Line Design PLS-CADD Hands-On Training See upcoming dates

Course Overview

This computer lab course includes background theory and hands-on computer modeling. Lectures will present the basic concepts, and computer exercises will illustrate them. Numerous case studies will provide a range of real-life examples.

Course topics include:

  • Software system overview and terrain modeling
  • Conductor design and modeling
  • Structures modeling by allowable spans
  • Interactive line design and generation of construction documents
  • Modeling existing lines, assessment, and refurbishment
  • Using details structure models for strength verification

This course will provide you with the training you need to be more proficient with computer software that will make you more effective on your job.

Who Should Attend?

  • Transmission line design engineers
  • Structural engineers
  • Consulting engineers
  • Design, drafting, and CAD technicians
  • Surveyors

Course Outline

Overview and Terrain Modeling

  • PLS-CADD system overview
  • Presentation of projects
  • How to organize project files
  • View commands, opening of windows, viewing of phases and sags
  • Needed terrain data and surveying
  • Prepare a terrain model

LiDAR Aerial Surveying

  • How to use 3-dimensional survey data
  • Building design models from LiDAR data
  • Identifying clearance limits and potential for clearance upgrades

Conductor Design and Modeling

  • Various conductor types
  • Conductor properties: advantages and disadvantages 
  • Permanent deformation from overloading and creep
  • Effects of high temperature on creep and strength reduction 
  • Conductor models in PLS-CADD
  • Aeolian vibrations: how to limit 
  • Temperature vs. ampacity 
  • Line thermal rating

Design Criteria

  • Weather data 
  • Wind and ice loads: gust response factors, etc. 
  • Conductor limits of use 
  • Conditions for automatic sagging 
  • Structure loads and safety factors 
  • Conditions for checking clearances 
  • PLS-CADD/LITE: simplified PLS-CADD module

Structures Modeling by Allowable Spans

  • Available structure models - allowable spans method - full analysis method
  • Material lists, parts lists 
  • Create and edit allowable span structures

Interactive Line Design

  • Spot structures interactively 
  • String and sag conductors: demonstrate 
  • Check clearances: vertical, between phases, galloping, etc. 
  • Check overall design efficiency

Generate Construction Documents

  • Plan-and-profile sheets, staking lists, stringing charts, offset clipping, etc.

Modeling of Poles and Frames by Analysis 

  • Overview of structure programs; PLS-POLE
  • Create and edit wood, steel and concrete poles/frames
  • Determining allowable spans of existing structure designs

Modeling Existing Lines, Assessment, and Refurbishing

  • Modeling existing lines and structures 
  • Assessment, reconductoring, refurbishing, etc. 
  • Joint use issues and modeling 
  • Links to SAPS

Automatic Optimum Spotting

  • Theory and examples

Checking Detailed Tower Models

  • Brief overview of TOWER program capabilities
  • Linkage between PLS-CADD and TOWER
  • Checking and modifying older tower designs


Jesse Kohler

Jesse Kohler, P.E., Power Line Systems, has more than 15 years of experience in transmission line design ranging from voltages of 69kV through 345kV and using the PLS software suite. Jesse is a registered Professional Engineer, is an active member of the IEEE Power Energy Society, and currently sits on Subcommittee 4 of the NESC. Jesse has been with Power Line Systems for more than 10 years providing technical support to PLS users in over 130 different countries around the world. In addition to technical support he also performs software testing, participates in the development of new software features, and leads PLS-CADD training courses. He has an extreme in-depth knowledge of the software’s functionality and implementation.

Upcoming dates

Take this course when it’s offered next!