The Robinson team’s experience is helping ETEL develop and manufacture next generation smart distribution transformers for its global clients.

Relationship and projects

ETEL Limited has a number of important research projects with Robinson to continue building its reputation for innovative and quality products, as well as remaining globally competitive.

New green technologies, especially photovoltaic power generation and the use of electric cars, contribute to voltage extremes in the domestic power network. Robinson is helping ETEL evaluate voltage management strategies to manage these fluctuations and keep the voltage levels within a power company’s required bounds.

In collaboration with Callaghan Innovation, the Robinson team are developing fibre optic sensors, which are placed inside the windings of a transformer to monitor its temperature. These ‘smart transformers’ are easy to manage and control by a network operator and can also detect faults automatically.

Another project is building a database of the physical and chemical properties of new and old transformer oil and paper samples, which are analysed by the Robinson Research Institute. Paper and oil are key components of the transformer and by understanding how they degrade over time, the lifetime of the transformer and the value of an overhaul can be predicted.

Client comment

“A smart grid is expected to enhance every facet of the electricity delivery system, including generation, transmission, distribution and consumption. Building the next generation of smart transformers will require remote monitoring of a wide range of transformer and system parameters. Most of today's transformers were placed into service years ago and are not ready to make the most of the smart grid.

“ETEL, with the help of the Robinson Research Institute, aims to achieve this goal by providing its clients with next generation smart distribution transformers.

“The Robinson Research team is highly experienced and I believe this collaboration will help us to grow into a world-class distribution transformer manufacturing company for the future.”

—Peter Leece, Chief Executive Officer, ETEL

About ETEL

ETEL makes distribution transformers from its base in Auckland, New Zealand, where it employs around 215 staff. More than half of its output is exported to Australia and the Pacific. ETEL was founded in 1956 and is now owned by Unison, the fifth largest electricity lines company in New Zealand.