Importance of Remote Transformer Design Reviews
When purchasing a transformer, conducting a design review can help eliminate the high cost of fixing field problems and also minimize delays due to design changes. After the bid award, the next steps are the design and purchasing of materials. A transformer design review can be an effective step to expedite the design and manufacturing process since the ultimate result is approval of the manufacturer’s design. With design approval, the manufacturer can purchase the specified materials and begin construction. Design reviews ensure technical compliance of the transformer design and construction by verifying that appropriate materials are used, performance guarantees will be met and the transformer will be adequately tested – all to help ensure long-term, reliable service.
While design review meetings are typically held on-site at the manufacturing facility, remote design reviews are becoming more widely utilized. Beyond today’s COVID-19-driven travel restrictions that prevent representatives of companies purchasing transformers from getting to facility locations, virtual meetings are an alternative option because they offer planning flexibility, free up limited resources, and allow more stakeholders to participate.
Why Conduct a Design Review?
A design review helps expedite the procurement process by bringing both parties together to discuss the technical details of the transformer design. Drawings can be reviewed and the approval process started. A properly conducted design review will establish a design that is agreed upon by both the purchaser and manufacturer. The design review provides verification for the purchaser that the manufacturer is meeting their procurement specification’s fit, function, performance, materials and other requirements. Design reviews help prevent and minimize project schedule delays and cost over-runs.
When to Conduct a Design Review
Design reviews are often performed when there is a unique transformer design or when the technical purchasing specification is demanding, both of which are especially true when a transformer manufacturer is designing and constructing to a specification for the first time.
Experience shows that it is very difficult to create a transformer specification that covers every aspect; there are always interpretation issues and differences in technology and manufacturing capabilities that can sometimes result in surprises. Conducting a design review allows for detailed verification that a manufacturer meets the technical requirements of the relevant industry standards and the purchasing company’s specific requirements. The design review is used to ensure that the intent of the specification is being satisfied to an acceptable level.
Performing a Design Review
The following topics should be reviewed in detail to ensure that the manufacturer’s proposed design is adequate and meets the intended application of the given transformer:
- Magnetic Circuit
- Windings and Insulation
- Impedance and Losses
- Thermal Performance
- Short Circuit Withstand
Other relevant topics should be reviewed as needed, which typically include tap changers, controls and devices, mechanical considerations and factory acceptance testing.
Overcoming the Challenges of Remote Design Reviews
Body language is an important dynamic in effective communication and the same holds true in a design review. Therefore, remote design reviews should ideally be conducted over video with screen sharing capabilities.
Some platforms have sketching and whiteboard functionalities, which enhance the presentation and collaborative discussion of the transformer design and construction features. It is important to choose a remote technology platform that will augment the communication and collaboration.
Typically, when a design review is conducted at the manufacturer’s facility it includes a shop tour, which improves the design discussion by showcasing the construction techniques and intricate design details that may be unique to the manufacturer. These details can still be explored in a remote setting with intentional planning prior to the remote design review meeting. It is recommended that the transformer manufacturer prepare a repository of photos and video clips of key design and construction details, which often include details on the core frame and core frame insulation, winding construction and minor insulation, and the cleats and leads structure.
Experienced transformer design experts from Doble Engineering Company regularly conduct design reviews on behalf of our customers. Rely on our experts as an extension of your team for these critical services.
- Watch the webinar: Remote Transformer Design Review and Factory Witness Services
- Doble Transformer Consulting Services
- Download the eBook: Factory Acceptance Tests – Anything but Routine