Trachte, Inc. Braun Road facility, Oregon, Wisconsin



Trachte Prefabricated Buildings
design flexible steel buildings

The Advantages of Consistency: Trachte Helps Decrease Substation Challenges for Regional Power Cooperative


Airport equipment
and nav-aids shelter
Cellular/ microwave site
Critical UPS and
instrumentation facility
Electrical control house
Emergency and
proprietary radio shelter
Equipment penthouse
Fiber optic hub shelter
Gas and oil application
Generator enclosure
Ground water remediation
Instrument shelter
Maintenance and
Mechanical room
(core module)
Medical equipment rooms
Metering and
instrumentation facility
Oil and gas applications
Power distribution
and drop-in module
Pump enclosure
Remote monitoring station
Skid mounted portable labs
Substation control room
Switchgear and
motor control shelter
Transportable repair
and maintenance shelter
Wind farm applications
WWTP (FRP option)

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When asked if there had been any challenges with using Trachte control buildings for their substations over the years and how they were overcome, Mark Dahl simply states, “Fortunately, there haven't been any major challenges. We have a simplified building design standard worked out, which makes for fairly routine installation and good long-term reliability.”

Three control buildings on truck
Click for larger photo.

Dahl, Director of Supply Chain Management at Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse, Wisconsin, certainly should know. He has worked with Trachte since 2006, a time span involving the installation of more than 70 Trachte substation control buildings with more on the way.

Dairyland, founded in 1941, is a generation and transmission cooperative providing wholesale electrical requirements and other services for 25 electric distribution cooperatives and 16 municipal utilities in the Upper Midwest, according to its web site. In turn, these cooperatives and municipals deliver the electricity to consumers, meeting the energy needs of more than half a million people. Dairyland is a regional partner for Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, an alliance of more than 700 cooperatives in 45 states. 

Dairyland orders the control buildings for new substation and substation upgrades and then installs and maintains the buildings. The units ship from Trachte (sometimes trucked 2 or 3 together) and are delivered to Dairyland's service yard in La Crosse complete with AC lighting, heater/air conditioner units, outlets and switches. Once on site, Dairyland installs RTU’s (remote terminal units) and SCADA (supervisor control and data acquisition) equipment. As technology evolves, utilities upgrade automation equipment as needed.

The lion’s share of the Trachte equipment enclosures are 8’ x 12’ in size with some 10’ x 12’ buildings also in operation. A principle feature of the Dairyland buildings—which the company really appreciates—is their precast concrete slab floors. Providing these floors eliminates the need to site pour a concrete foundation (only pre-laying gravel is required) allowing for much more timely installation any time of the year without the need for concrete contracting.

Dahl mentioned three points about Trachte that impress Dairyland. First is the construction quality and durability of the buildings. “We appreciate Trachte's well-built substations, good quality controls and the consistency of a standardized design. Our electrical maintenance group really likes the buildings,” he remarks.

Secondly, the substations and the control buildings within them impart a good corporate image for Dairyland. “Many of these types of buildings don't have the aesthetic quality that Trachte's do,” Dahl says. Prior to Trachte, Dairyland primarily employed composite fiberglass and wood units for its substations. All current control houses come with standard 2-year warranty on the building with a 40-year warranty on their Kynar 500 paint finish.

Lastly, Dahl places high importance on the closeness that comes with more than 70 substation units delivered. “A key advantage of working with Trachte and employing these buildings is that we don't have to redesign the wheel. Our standardized design spec saves time and the arrangement works well for both parties,” he states.

Early on, Dairyland and Trachte went through a learning curve to refine and standardize the buildings for flexibility. At the time a substation order is placed, Dairyland may not know specific site details on where the building will be installed and how it will be oriented. Trachte responded by providing a cable entry and pan for cable risers on both sides of the buildings for needed on-site flexibility. Another refinement involved designing a unique air conditioner system to Dairyland specifications.

When asked about how partnering with Trachte has contributed to his power cooperative’s success, Dahl points out a few important ways. “The modularity of the buildings increases our efficiency because they are easy to adapt to the specifics of the site. Also, Trachte is a local company and we like to support Wisconsin manufacturers. A Made in Wisconsin label is important to us because it helps our local economy. Lastly is consistency. The working relationship between our firms doesn't vary much and this is a major value advantage for us.”

With more than 70 units installed and operating, it stands to reason that the advantages of a consistent design standard along with a great working relationship between Dairyland Power Cooperative and Trachte will likely continue to generate dividends for members well into the future.

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Trachte, Inc. 422 N. Burr Oak Avenue, Oregon, WI 53575 Phone 608-835-5707 Fax 608-835-3920 HR Fax 608-835-7565 E-mail
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