I’m in Marshalltown, Iowa about to leave for the official dedication of Emerson‘s new Innovation Center. This is a significant investment of Emerson’s funds in its Process Management division.

Over 115 people representing customers, Emerson employees and media gathered in Marshalltown, Iowa on May 11 to witness dedication of Emerson Process Management’s state-of-the-art Emerson Innovation Center, Fisher Technology. This $30 million investment is designed to help customers tackle the toughest engineering challenges facing today’s process manufacturing and energy industries.

The world’s appetite for energy is driving the development of next-generation nuclear plants, mega-train liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and large oil and gas refineries, which require larger capacities and highly engineered control valves and instrumentation. The 136,000-square-foot Center is designed to help companies deliver record volumes of natural gas and other forms of energy an consume less in the process, reducing costs and making plants run quieter and with reduced greenhouse emissions.

“No other facility in the world can do what our Marshalltown Emerson Innovation Center can do–from seismically qualifying a 35,000-pound control valve to testing a two-story-tall valve that controls the flow of feedstocks for a petrochemical plant,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. “This $30 million investment in innovation directly reflects Emerson’s commitment to helping our customers run smarter plants that improve production quality, lower operations and maintenance costs, and enhance environmental performance and worker safety.”

Emerson, whose Fisher valves are installed in more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear facilities, is able to provide seismic qualification of its valves at the new Innovation Center, which is critically important to making nuclear plants safe and reliable during earthquakes. Emerson was recently awarded contracts to provide its Fisher control valves for Westinghouse Electric Co.’s newest generation of nuclear power plants.

“We are very pleased to be working with Emerson Process Management for control valves on our AP1000 nuclear power plant,” said William Rice, Westinghouse director of engineering. “We plan to take advantage of this new facility to prove out critical operating characteristics, under the actual passive heat-removal system service conditions, for one of Fisher’s unique large control valves designed to meet our requirements.”

The center’s flow lab has enough capacity to fill an Olympic-sized pool in just over eight minutes, or a Goodyear blimp in about 12 seconds. Control valves can be tested at pressures up to 3,500 psi (pounds per square inch), the equivalent of providing enough force to support a sport utility vehicle on a postage stamp. Meanwhile, the center also is home to a 26,000-square-foot sound chamber in which Emerson can develop and verify noise levels of new devices before a customer’s plant is built. The center required almost 2 million pounds of process piping, more than 1,600 feet of 30-in. and 36-in. pipe, seven underground airl storage tanks each more than 150 feet long, and more than 4,500 cubic yards of concrete.

Emerson also announced several new products from the Fisher division. More on those a little later.

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