Marshalltown Innovation Center Motor Drive Technologies

Last week was the official unveiling of the Emerson Innovation Center in Marshalltown, Iowa. I shared insights into the event through the lens of social media. In addition to Emerson Process Management technologies used throughout this facility, technologies come from other Emerson businesses as well including Industrial Automation.

I exchanged emails with Evan Reed who oversaw the Control Techniques drives that are used in the Innovation Center, or Marshalltown Flow Lab in local vernacular. These drives are used on all aspects of the facility from environmental to process control applications. In most cases, the drives are used in standard applications–mostly variable torque fluid handling. All of the drives are connected into the plant’s DeltaV control system. From any of the DeltaV operator stations, the technologists can monitor and control every drive in the facility as they perform their tests.

Evan described a few of the applications used to produce the extremely high-volume flow rates up to nominal pipe size (NPS) 36 and 240 bar (3,500 psig). The largest drive controls a 1250HP motor. Multiple pumps and compressors supply the 36″ piping system with the largest drive controlling a 600HP motor.

Control Techniques Commander SK and Unidrive SP Packaged Drives
Evan shared that a wide variety of drives are used in the lab including Commander SK, Unidrive SP, Unidrive SP free-standing, and packaged drives. During the construction phase, electrical contractors were buying the drives and putting them into enclosures. The project management team was not initially aware of the Control Techniques team’s packaging capabilities. After a quick comparative analysis, the project management team found it more cost effective to buy a packaged solution. Taking this path saved time & money and help the overall project timeline.

These packaged drive solutions are developed at the Control Techniques Ft. Meyers facility. They provided packaged drives from just a few HP up to multiple hundreds of HP.

As mega-train liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, refineries, and newly-designed nuclear facilities require designs and technology to handle and control ever higher flow rates, the flow lab provides the test environment to develop and prove out these technologies. The goal of the innovations developed in the lab is to reduce costs and make these plants run quieter and with reduced greenhouse emissions.

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Update: Even shared a picture which I’ve embedded into the post.

Update 2: I received a note from my friends in Marshalltown letting me that they’re not using “flow lab” in its name, so I’ve updated the title and struck the reference I’d made to this terminology.

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