UD students a part of patent for energy-saving dishwashers by Hobart

Dana Zechar/STAFF

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Dana Zechar/STAFF

Engineering students from the University of Dayton are on the verge of being named on a patent with Hobart, the international food services company based in Troy.

Seven of UD’s Engineering students will be listed on a Hobart non-provisional patent filing for an innovation that assists in trapping heat in industrial dishwashers found in cafeterias and restaurants, according to UD.

The non-provisional patent filing will be published in early 2018 on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website. After that, the innovation will be inspected over two to three years to determine if it “meets certain standards of inventiveness” for a patent, according to Hobart engineering manager Alexander Anim-Mensah.

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As many know, when a dishwasher opens, a plume of hot air escapes. This is what the group of students sought to fix. The students wanted to protect the operator from the blast of heat, improve drying, and reduce energy costs needed to re-heat the dishwasher, according to UD.

The group of students estimate that the invention will improve energy efficiency by at least 5 percent and drying efficiency by at least 25 percent.

“That is huge for an already energy-efficient machine. In an age where energy is getting expensive and standards keep rising, every bit counts. Given the average life of these machines is more than seven years, operators will enjoy the cost-saving benefits from the invention,” Anim-Mensah said.

The team started in 2015 with four students, who started by creating a solid barrier to block the dishwasher’s opening. Three other students joined the project a year later.

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“This project has helped me apply concepts learned in class. I would tell anyone looking to do something like this to be open to exploring new ideas and concepts. That’s how we’ve been successful,” Prasanna Murlidharan, current UD renewable and clean energy graduate student, said.

This is not the only success of UD’s School of Engineering’s Innovation Center. In the past two decades, UD students have worked on more than 1,000 projects with more than 200 industry partners, according to UD.

Students collaborated with Hobart, as the company has been associated with UD for more than a decade.

“Hobart has been a strong supporter of our Innovation Center and assisting our students with experiential learning opportunities for more than 15 years. The opportunity Hobart has given our students to be part of this patent process is one not many get as an undergraduate,” Becky Blust, Innovation Center director, said.

Hobart is a subsidiary of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC.

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