Top Innovators: University of Washington/Zensi

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Shwetak PatelYou probably don’t know it yet, but each appliance in your home sings its own particular song. Recognizing that song could help households cut their energy consumption. Shwetak Patel and his students at the University of Washington have developed intelligent in-home sensors that are able to differentiate between different appliances drawing gas through a line by using acoustic recognition to identify each appliance’s “song.”

The sensors are available in three different models: HydroSense, GasSense and Powerline Event Detection (PED). Each sensor performs the same task, albeit in a slightly different way. HyrdoSense relies on the different pressures, GasSense uses acoustics and PED analyzes spikes from electrical switches flipped inside mechanical devices.

Using such devices, customers can see what appliances are using energy and take measures to reduce their use or to unplug appliances that consume energy when not in use. The technology can also help utilities create incentives for consumers to restrict the use of energy-hungry appliances to off-peak periods.

Energy monitors were previously a luxury available only to large companies. In April, Los Angeles-based Belkin acquired Patel’s startup, Zensi, and will soon bring energy monitors that use Zensi’s technology to market, allowing homeowners to identify specific sources of wasted energy.

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The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

Winner: Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
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Legacy Award
Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Auburn › belshaw-adamatic.com
When it’s time to make doughnuts — or loaves of bread, or sheets of rolls — it could well be a Belshaw Adamatic piece of equipment that’s turning out the baked goods. From a 120,000-square-foot plant in Auburn, Belshaw Adamatic produces the ovens, fryers, conveyors and specialty equipment like jelly injectors used by wholesale and retail bakeries.
 
The firm’s two legacy companies — Belshaw started in 1923, Adamatic in 1962 — combined forces in 2007. Italy’s Ali Group North America is the parent.
 
It it takes work to maintain a legacy. A months-long strike in 2013 damaged morale and forced a leadership change. Frank Chandler was named president and CEO of Belshaw Adamatic in September 2013. The company has since strived to mend workplace relationships while also introducing a stream of new products, such as a convection oven, the BX Eco-touch, with energy saving features and steam injection that can be programmed for precise times in baking. The company energetically describes it as “an oven that saves time, reduces errors, makes an awesome product, and is fun to use and depend on every day!”
 
So far, more than 3,000 have been installed in quick-service restaurants, bakeries, cafés and supermarkets in the United States. They are the legacy of Thomas and Walter Belshaw, former builders of marine engines, who began producing patented manual and automated doughnut-making machines in Seattle 90 years ago. They sold thousands worldwide and, today, Belshaw Adamatic is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of doughnut-making equipment.