Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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Ecogate Ltd made its inaugural appearance at LIGNA and witnessed huge success by wooing visitors from all sectors of the woodworking industry with the latest energy-saving technology for dust and fume extraction.
Sales director, Jake Oldfield, admitted that they were “hard-pushed to cope with the level of visitor interest, which was nothing short of outstanding, but I think we did manage to speak with everyone who approached us for information and advice.”
“The Ecogate® system has been around for well over a decade now, and over that time the concept has been well received by the UK market,” says sales manager Ian Rayner, “but electricity price hikes over the last 12 months have really hit home with manufacturers both at home and in Europe. Halving the cost of running your dust extraction system is an opportunity no factory owner wants to ignore, and the fact that the system can often pay for itself within 2 years, and then continue to reap savings, makes it a no-brainer.”
When all machine stopping and starting is monitored throughout an average working day in a joinery shop or furniture manufacturing facility, the extraction system is typically only required to operate for around 80% of the time; and it’s the 20% of ‘downtime’ that an Ecogate system capitalises on – any time a machine comes online, the dust extraction adjusts automatically to accommodate the new extraction volume requirement. Similarly, when a machine ceases operations, the fan speed is reduced and energy consumption decreases.
Traditional extraction systems operate continuously throughout the working day, with the fan motor running constantly, at full power. With Ecogate installed, fan speed is continuously varied to exactly match extraction demand and optimise energy usage.
At LIGNA, this principle was demonstrated very effectively with an interactive working display which also featured Ecogate’s latest development – the new “greenBOX Nxt” controller. Visitors to the stand were invited to mimic the action of a machine starting up by pressing a large ‘gameshow-like’ button. This change in demand for ‘extraction’ was acknowledged by the greenBOX Nxt, which in turn operated one of the display’s automatic dampers, which lit up like a Christmas tree to show it was opening! Simultaneously, an extractor fan started-up, and the ‘system’ status could then be monitored on the Nxt’s colour touchscreen. Pressing a second button opened another damper and the fan speed increased accordingly. Pressing one of the buttons again then closed a damper, the fan slowed down, and the actual power saving being made was displayed on the screen.
Ecogate’s new greenBOX Nxt controller is highly intelligent. As well as controlling the extraction system, real-time performance data shows how much electricity the fan motor is consuming, it checks filter pressure, air volume and air velocity at dampers, branches, as well as across the entire system, and also monitors machine utilisation across the factory. The greenBOX Nxt is able to stop and start the extraction system automatically at both ends of the working day; system performance is checked at start-up and confirmed by text or email, and at the end of the day, greenBOX Nxt will message again to confirm successful system shutdown.