DAYTON, Ohio — Emerson recently 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 aimed at creating new technologies that address heating, cooling and refrigeration challenges that affect today’s homes, commercial buildings, data centers, restaurants, supermarkets and other retail operations, the company reports.

“There are some big things happening in our industry right now, and we are playing a leading role in many of them. These initiatives include 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; 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 speed and accuracy. The company 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 solution to turn food waste into energy. Teams will use the facility to generate new ideas and test them under real-world conditions.

Emerson expects The Helix to be a global hub of industry education. In addition to the modules, the facility includes three learning labs. The company plans to host industry meetings and hold forums for HVACR professionals on-site.

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