Emerson Process Management, a global business of Emerson has opened the state-of-the-art Emerson Innovation Center – Fisher Technology in Marshalltown, Iowa, US. This US$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 Emerson Innovation Center is designed to help companies deliver record volumes of natural gas and other forms of energy and consume less in the process, reducing costs and making plants run quieter and with reduced greenhouse emissions.
The center is home to the world’s largest “flow lab” that, for the first time, enables large valves to be tested in real-world plant conditions to ensure production reliability, efficiency, environmental compliance, and safety before being installed at a customer site.
“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 per cent 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 Company’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 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.
Located in Marshalltown, Iowa, home to Fisher, which was acquired by Emerson in 1992, the center required almost 2 million pounds of process piping, more than 1,600 feet of 30-inch and 36-inch pipe, seven underground air storage tanks each more than 150 feet long, and more than 4,500 cubic yards of concrete.