Transformer Design Review
What it should be
"A design review is a planned exercise to ensure there is a common understanding of the applicable standards and specification requirements, and to provide an opportunity to scrutinise the design to ensure the requirements will be met, using the manufacturer’s proven materials and methodology."
(CIGRE Brochure 204- Guidelines for conducting design reviews for transformers)
The problems in practice
The effectiveness of a transformer design review is based on open access to design information.
However transformer manufacturers are often very reluctant to share this information because of their legitimate concern about protecting their know-how (they sold a transformer, not its design too).
Non disclosure agreements signed by the customer do not really help, because they are not enforceable for commercial reasons. To make matters worse, sometimes, the person carrying out the design review on behalf of the user, has never designed a transformer.
So often, users and OEMs miss the great opportunity, given by design reviews, to prevent problems because of this fundamental conflict.
From our point of view, during a design review, all parties have a common goal: ensure that the transformer will be trouble free.
To make this happen, we treat design data given by OEMs as strictly confidential and we share with the users only our opinions about the transformer design (not its details, which are not really relevant for a transformer user).
Advantages for transformer Users
Thanks to our experience and our advanced tools (sometimes better than the ones available to transformer OEMs), we go beyond simple design review and actually perform independent design verification, having therefore much better chances to spot problems.
Advantages for transformer OEMs
Transformer OEMs can count on our confidentiality (no problem in signing NDA), our knowledge (sometimes a second opinion can be useful) and our total respect of their responsibilities (we give advices, the choice to follow them is for the transformer OEMs to make).