Emerson celebrated the grand opening of The Helix Innovation Center on the University of Dayton campus. Emerson’s $35 million total investment in The Helix will foster an ambitious, collaborative approach to conducting research to create new technologies that address heating, cooling and refrigeration challenges affecting today’s homes, commercial buildings, data centers, restaurants, supermarkets and other retail operations.
“There are some big things happening in our industry right now and we are playing a lead role in many of them. Initiatives like the connected home, the industrial Internet of Things, intelligent stores, new system architectures that can work with natural refrigerants, and ultra-efficient air conditioning systems,” said Bob Sharp, Executive Vice President, Emerson. “To stay on the forefront, our approach is to look at the entire environment our customers operate in, and this is why we have invested to create this facility.”
The Helix will focus on advancing ideas quickly from concept to prototype. To get there, Emerson will collaborate with customers, industry partners and competitors as well as experts from other industries who can bring new perspectives to specific challenges.
For example, Emerson is currently working on a project specifically focused on how to detect refrigerant chemical leaks in refrigeration and air conditioning systems with both speed and accuracy. Emerson is leveraging its ideation process to look for new approaches to this challenge, which has global implications.
The Helix Innovation Center features full-scale, simulated environments, including a working commercial kitchen, a two-story residential home, a grocery store, a data center and the whole facility as a commercial building. The Helix also features the Grind2Energy system, Emerson’s groundbreaking solution to turn food waste into energy. Teams will use the facility to generate new ideas and then test them under real-world conditions.
With The Helix Innovation Center and an evolved approach to innovation, Emerson and others will look to advance areas like solving challenges related to efficiency, environmental demands and regulations; developing new applications for automation; maximizing the use of connectivity and big data insights to drive better performance and experience; and uncovering innovative thermal management technology that addresses the challenges facing data center managers.
Emerson plans for The Helix to be a global hub of industry education. In addition to the modules, the facility includes three learning labs and the company plans to host industry meetings and hold forums for HVACR professionals on-site.