A Marshalltown company has opened a new $30-million testing center for control valves used in places like nuclear plants and oil rigs. Emerson Process Management built the facility that takes up a full city block. Company vice president, Galen Wilke, says the one-of-a-kind laboratory will allow engineers to test large valves in real-life situations.
”These plants are operating with very high pressures. In off-shore oil and gas, you have people sleeping in sleeping accommodations next to piping with thousands of pounds per square inch in it, and safety is an overwhelming thing. And this lets us test things very rigorously before we ever sell a product to a customer,” Wilke says. Emerson bought Marshalltown-based Fisher Controls in 1992 and the testing center sits at the same downtown location where Fisher got its start 130 years ago.
“Moving these jobs back downtown — our old technical facility was south of town — has been great for downtown businesses,” Wilke explains, “Now people can go to lunch downtown and we expect a nice revival for downtown Marshalltown.” The company employs around 1,200 people.