Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

What are some Ecogate success stories?


Ecogate has been modernizing industrial filtration since 1997. We support hundreds of customers around the world with energy saving on-demand ventilation systems. A snapshot of some of these testimonials and success stories can be found here on our website.




How long has Ecogate been in business?


Ecogate was started in 1997 by Petr and Ales Litomisky with the vision to help garage-based woodworking shops with their dust collection challenges through the usage of automated system with motorized blast gates and automatic dust collector start and stop. The business has then expanded to every level of manufacturing and applies well beyond exclusively woodworking. The family still controls the business and one of the original founders, Ales Litomisky, is our current President and Chief Engineer.




Is there an Ecogate Dealer near me?


Ecogate dealers support much of North America as well as the United Kingdom and portions of Europe and Australasia. Where we do not have a dealer, Ecogate is able to sell and support directly in most cases. Ask us for a referral here to learn how we can support your requirements. You can fill the contact form here https://www.ecogate.com/partnerships.





Billing & Pricing

Where can I purchase Ecogate products?


You may contact us by filling out our Contact Us form here. Ecogate can recommend local dealer.




What's the cost to recommission my system?


Commissioning is an important step in ensuring that the system is properly operating and will generate the financial and safety returns that the client expects. Smaller systems can be setup by the customer, larger systems by dealer or Ecogate field engineer. The remote access that is built-in the systems offers many things that an Ecogate engineer can do remotely to ensure full optimization of your system. For those cases where in-person commissioning is appropriate, please consult with your Ecogate sales rep, and all details and costs associated will be provided and reviewed.




Can I get an incentive from my utility? Typically how much is my incentive?


Ecogate has experience in cooperating with North American Utility companies and is ready to assist you with this. Ecogate can provide all necessary measurements and calculations and can work with your utility to maximize your incentive. Most utilities offer Custom Incentive Programs which pay a combination peak kW savings and annual kWh savings. Some utilities will "buy down" the return on investment (ROI) to a certain number of months. Incentives are generally capped at 50% of the project cost but some utilities will pay up to 75% of the cost.




What is the cost of Ecogate products?


Ecogate solutions are customized to the customer application so a one size fits all price list is not possible (we need to know the size of your fan motor, the diameter of drops of all your workstations). Some Ecogate parts are available a la carte basis while others are part of a system. To request a price list, contact us.




How much does an automatic blast gate cost?


Ecogate gates are the lowest cost automatic gates on the market, with lowest installation and operational cost (for example, pneumatically operated gates cost more, they need both compressed air and electrical installation, and compressed air is very expensive to operate the gates). The costs vary between sizes, finish (zinc plated or stainless steel) and the motor technology (standard or smart motor). We offer rotating blade gates for general dust applications (sawdust etc.), and butterfly gates where seal is important (mist oil, fume, pharmaceutical, food packaging). To request a price list compatible with your system, contact us, contact us.




What is the typical payback on an Ecogate system?


Savings, and hence payback, are driven by operating hours, electricity cost, total dust collection fan horsepower, workstation utilization and utility incentives. Usually, your payback will be about one year with a three-shift operation, two years with a two-shift operation and three years with a one-shift operation. If your operation is using air conditioning and/or heating, the ROI will be much shorter.





Dust Collection Systems

Have you ever had any problems with an installation?


We recommend that Ecogate do preliminary engineering assessments to custom duct design through system installation and commissioning. In such a case you should not expect any problems. Ecogate personnel and dealers are all committed to satisfying the customer's requirements and we have never left a job incomplete.




Is my system too small to work with Ecogate?


Ecogate has an excellent and cost-effective solution for smaller shops - the greenBOX® 12 control unit. It can handle up to twelve workstations. The installed system is fully automatic, so users will use their workstations as they normally do. Users of small shops love Ecogate systems because they can concentrate on their work while dust collecting is fully automated. The fan can be modulated optimally via our Power MASTER Variable Frequency Drive or, if you prefer, just start and stop automatically via magnetic starter (contactor).




Does Ecogate work with existing dust collection systems?


Ecogate solutions are able to work with any dust/mist/fume collection systems (generally with any industrial exhaust ventilation system). We apply smart controls to both existing and new installations of many types of dust collection around the world. As a first step you can fill our survey form; based on it we will calculate estimated system cost, estimated savings, return on investment. It is free, and usually you will have our response the next day.




How should blast gates be properly installed in a duct system?


For long term, trouble-free operation, the gates must be installed 3-5 duct diameters away from hoods or elbows to avoid turbulent airflow inside the gate. The turbulent flow can cause sawdust to migrate inside the gate. The gate will need to be cleaned on a regular basis by compressed air if it is installed in turbulent airflow. The gate should be supported on both sides to avoid pinching: if the rotating blade is pinched it cannot move freely to the point that the gate cannot be fully open or fully closed.




Are there any restrictions to using Ecogate with my current dust collection system?


Generally, there are no restrictions - Ecogate can be used with any dust/mist/fume collecting system. As always, the devil is in the details: is your fan motor compatible with the Variable Frequency Drive? If not, it can be replaced. Is your duct system, fan, and dust collector a good fit for your system? Are the duct air velocities above the minimum transport air velocities? Summary: if your dust/mist/fume collecting system is performing well, it can be easily upgraded with Ecogate. If there are any issues, they can be addressed at the same time your system is upgraded to the Ecogate system. We recommend that Ecogate do preliminary engineering assessments to answer all important questions. The engineering is free with system purchase.




Is design drop air velocity the same as branch/main duct air velocity?


No, these velocities are different. Optimum drop air velocity at the workstation is dictated by optimal speed to capture dust (typically 4,500 FPM for general dust or higher for paper trim, larger and wet sawdust, etc). The branch and main duct air velocity must be higher than minimum transport air velocity for the particular material that is transported. Recommended minimum transport air velocities are published by Industrial Ventilation, by The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 17th Edition, and republished by FM Global industrial insurance company. For example for dry fine sawdust minimum transport air velocity is about 3,500 FPM.




What determines the system consumption baseline?


The system consumption baseline is power consumption of the fan motor before installation of the Ecogate system (it is fan power consumption with proper exhaust ventilation of all connected workstations). It is used to calculate electricity savings of the Ecogate system. For example, before installation of the Ecogate system, the fan was operated at full speed and measured power was 100 HP. After installation, the system is currently running by using 50 HP. Based on 100 HP, the baseline system is running at 50% savings. We are using a 3-phase power analyzer to measure consumption without an Ecogate system; after Ecogate system installation we are reading the fan motor power as provided by the Variable Frequency Drive because that measurement is very precise.




Can Ecogate help modify current ducting?


In most cases, we are able to make it work depending on mechanical and resource limitations. The first step is to submit a survey form to an Ecogate Engineer which outlines your current system configuration as well as any improvements you wish to achieve or operational bottlenecks you want to remove. Contact Us.




Is my dust collection system too large to work with Ecogate?


There are Ecogate solutions installed for as few as one gate and as many as 180 gates across four dust collection systems per one control unit, with fans up to 450 HP. For controlling larger systems, additional control units can be added. Since Ecogate is a custom engineered solution, there is no size requirement that we cannot scale up or down to. Case studies can be found here and industries supported can be found here.





Product Info

Does Ecogate sell ducting, dust collectors, filters?


Yes. While our main product is our industry-leading Ecogate intelligent dust collection controls, we also partner with top dust collection and ducting suppliers to offer you turnkey dust collection services. This includes offering system design, duct layout design, collectors, fans, filters, ducting, installation, commissioning.




Can I upgrade my greenBOX 12?


You can upgrade greenBOX software to latest version by running greenBOX 12 Setup & Monitoring software on your Windows PC (greenBOX is connected by USB to serial adapter). You can upgrade to twelve gates (workstations). If you need more than twelve workstations, you can combine two greenBOX 12 units. Another option is to upgrade to greenBOX NXT (for up to 32 gates), but that would require to upgrade gate motors to Ecogate Smart motors. All Smart motors are connected in one cable loop.




Can I upgrade my greenBOX 8?


Yes, we have our Upgrade Program designed for legacy greenBOX® 8 users to upgrade to a greenBOX® 12. For more information on our Upgrade Program, click here.




Can I buy individual gates to control single workstations instead of buying a full system?


Yes, we offer automatic standalone gates if you just need a few to get you started. The gate will open automatically if your machine will need dust collection, and it will close if machine is not active.




Is Ecogate easy to use?


Ecogate systems are designed with the user in mind. Installed systems are fully automatic, so users will use their workstations as they normally do. We offer fully detailed installation and user manuals, and we train your employees on-site during the commissioning process and offer remote support and training as well. Smaller greenBOX 12 systems are often installed by users themselves based on our step-by-step guide. Also larger systems can be installed by customers (by maintenance personnel), and we offer online installation training.




Does Ecogate offer turnkey systems?


Yes, we offer full turnkey dust collection services not only for wood dust, but also for fume extraction, welding, automotive/aerospace, schools, food processing (any system where fumes/material are conveyed using ducting and fans)....if you need any type of ventilation extraction, we can offer a turnkey system to you.




Does Ecogate work on smaller systems?


Yes, we have three levels of controllers. Our greenBOX® 12 was designed with the smaller shops in mind. Our most affordable option includes being able to control up to 12 gates on a single dust collection system... If your system grows beyond 12 in the future, you can link two greenBOX® 12s to manage up to 24 gates for that same dust collection system. For the next size of the systems we have greenBOX NXT (can handle up to 32 workstations/gates), and greenBOX MASTER that can handle the largest systems.




Is Ecogate cost effective on smaller systems?


Absolutely and we'll definitely work for you to figure out if Ecogate makes sense for you. If you are not using all workstations at a same time, you can use smaller dust collector compared to traditional systems. You will save electricity, and your shop will be quieter. One of the first steps in our process is determining the viability of our system for your specific needs.




What are key benefits of having an Ecogate system?


Besides energy savings, there are a number of benefits you will enjoy from your Ecogate system, including a safer and quieter work environment, a fully automated system that requires less maintenance, longer filter bag life, data analytics on how your machines are being used and how your dust collection systems are performing (smart systems only) and potential incentives from your local utility company! For more info on our key benefits, click here.




Can I use my existing fan with an Ecogate system?


If your fan was properly selected for your dust collecting system, you can use it with an Ecogate system. We will check the fan curve before to ensure that your fan can handle the required design air volume, and if the fan can provide the necessary pressure to overcome all system pressure losses. We will also check if the fan motor is compatible with the variable frequency drive (the motor must have insulation class F or better; all motors produced in the last 25 years are insulation class F).




Can I use a third party VFD with an Ecogate system?


Yes, a third party VFD can be used with Ecogate via analog output signal from one of our controllers - greenBOX® 12 (for twelfe workstations). Since most general VFDs on the market have the speed reference controlled by an analog input from 4-20 mA, this application will work with a greenBOX 12 analog output. All Ecogate greenBOX control units (greenBOX 12, greenBOX® NXT, and greenBOX® Master) are using industry standard Modbus to communicate with the Ecogate Power MASTER VFD with many additional advantages (very simple wiring, simple setup, reading Fan & Filter pressure values through Modbus etc). For best customer experience, we recommend combining greenBOX control units with Power MASTER VFDs.




Do I need to use an Ecogate Volt Sensor, or can I use a dry contact from workstation?


If the workstation has dry normally open (NO) contact that is closed a few seconds before the workstation needs ventilation, you can connect it directly to the sensor input of the gate. You can request such output when ordering a new machine, or your maintenance personnel can add it to your workstations. However, workstations typically do not have such output. If this isn't possible, you can use Ecogate Volt or current sensor. It should be connected to the circuit that is energized if the machine needs ventilation. If the system is installed by Ecogate team, our chief electrician will create with you a "sensor plan": he will ask how each workstation works, which circuit is active before cutting, and he will recommend a proper sensor for each machine. Optionally we can use a light beam or laser sensor to detect when material is entering the machine. With over twenty years of experience installing sensors, you can be sure this is done properly.




Does the system ever break down?


Like anything, both mechanical and electrical things break...eventually. However, one thing we are proud of, is that after generations of testing and engineering design, we've been able to improve our products to be more durable in harsh industrial environments. For example, the gates are validated for one million opening/closing cycles. Proper maintenance of VFDs, and greenBOX control units is recommended. In case that something does break, we have systems in place for an expeditious replacement. Also, any software issues can be immediately addressed remotely and in a timely manner.




Why do I have to use an Ecogate VFD? Why can't I use my own VFD?


For best customer experience we recommend combining greenBOX control units with Power MASTER VFDs. The Ecogate Power Master is much more than a VFD: The main difference is that we can communicate with the variable frequency drive remotely, adjust, and program all parameters remotely - to help you. Some details: • The Power MASTER VFD processor communicates with the greenBOX® via Modbus even if the main power supply for the VFD is disconnected or has failed. Therefore, we can program the drive parameters when main power is off, read warnings, errors, etc. This makes the life of an installer easier and customer service better. • The Power MASTER can control on-demand start/stop of the dust collector by utilizing the Power MASTER “Dust Collector Start” free contact (NO) and “Dust Collector Stop” free contact (NC). The benefit is reduced power consumption and reduced wear & tear of the dust collector. • Delayed (masked) system enable input allows to the main fan to start and waits until the enable signal is confirmed by the dust collector control panel. • Another advantage is significantly reduced wiring: the fan pressure transmitter and the filter pressure transmitter are connected to the Power MASTER analog inputs; the pressure values are transmitted to the greenBOX® via Modbus; also the “VFD is in Manual Mode” signal is transmitted from the Power MASTER via Modbus further reducing wiring.




How can the dust collector be automatically started and stopped?


The traditional dust collecting system is started by operator 15 minutes before the shift and stopped 15 minutes after the shift. With an Ecogate system, the dust collector can be started automatically on demand. You will save labor, decrease wear & tear of the dust collector, and save electricity by not operating dust collector motors. The start and stop are still done by proper sequence as required by the manufacturer of the dust collector; the Ecogate system will just "press" start and stop buttons (of dust collector control panel) as if it is done by a real person. If any error is detected by the dust collector PLC, the Ecogate system will know it through ENABLE input of the Power MASTER VFD. The proper startup, stop logic is handled by virtual PLC inside the Power MASTER (we are using Adaptive Programming of the variable frequency drive).




Is Ecogate made in the USA? Where is Ecogate manufactured?


Ecogate is a Nevada corporation with its head office in North Hollywood, California. Power MASTER VFDs are produced in the USA by our partner ABB; control systems are partly produced in the USA and partly in the European Union. The gates are produced in the European Union.




Does Ecogate offer blast gates in stainless steel?


Yes. A lead time is a little longer, as stainless-steel gates are not stocked. Please contact your Ecogate sales rep for details, or send us a message here.




How does the Ecogate system work?


The system is designed to be fully automated, so users are expected to just use their workstations. In short, we install workstation activity sensors at each machine, connect them to their respective gate, connect all gates back to our greenBOX® controller, wire the greenBOX® and VFD Power Master and take control of your dust collector to give you a fully automated, on-demand, electricity saving system. You can also watch our video!




Will Ecogate work with oil mist systems?


Yes - Ecogate will work with any industrial exhaust ventilation system, including mist oil systems. There are specifics related to the mist oil systems - for example, duct systems must be sealed, etc. We recommend using butterfly-style gates for this application because they are sealed (no leakage outside the gate, and also the butterfly itself is sealed). These gates are using the same motor like all other gates, and they are available zinc-plated or in stainless steel. For more info on the industries we serve, click here.




What are Ecogate legacy systems, and are they upgradable?


Legacy systems: original greenBOX (for eight gates), designed for garage shops; greenBOX PRO, and original greenBOX MASTER based on Omron PLC. We offer discounted upgrade from original greenBOX to greenBOX 12. The greenBOX PRO, and original greenBOX MASTER with Omron PLC can be replaced by greenBOX 12.





Technology

What is the difference between a Standard (with greenBOX 12) and a Smart System (with greenBOX NXT or MASTER)?


A Smart System has additional features and access to our data analytics platform (greenBOX NXT up to 32 workstations, greenBOX MASTER up to 180 gates across 4 dust collection systems). Our Smart Systems are also built to manage larger dust collection systems (up to 180 gates across 4 dust collection systems). If you have more machines or are interested in analytics, a Smart System may be a better option for you. If you have a small shop or are interested in a basic control system, our inexpensive greenBOX® 12 is perfect for you (for up to twelve workstations). Please Contact Us to learn more about all three of our controllers and systems. We'd be happy to answer all of your questions.




How is an Ecogate Smart System better than a Standard System?


A smart system with greenBOX NXT or MASTER has additional features and access to our data analytics platform. Our smart systems are also built to manage larger dust collection systems (greenBOX NXT up to 32 workstations, greeenBOX MASTER up to 180 gates across 4 dust collection systems), and they can manage minimal airflow in more duct zones. Our analytics provide you details such as volume, velocity, and pressure at each gate, branch, and in the main duct. We also offer workstation utilization numbers which can help you understand production efficiency or optimize your floor's workflow.




Why do filter bags last longer with Ecogate?


How well can the filter bags be cleaned depends mainly on the air velocity through the filter bags during normal operation. The air velocity is typically specified in the "Air to Cloth ratio", but units are FPM, i.e. air velocity. The lower the air velocity, the better is the filter bags cleaning. Because the Ecogate system is closing gates at unused workstations, it is reducing system air volume, and thus reducing air velocity through the filter bags. One side effect is that that is increasing the life of the filters, which is a nice additional saving for Ecogate system users.




Can Ecogate maintain fan pressure while slowing down the fan RPM?


For sure we need to maintain appropriate fan pressure to be able to overcome all system pressure losses (hood losses, duct losses, filter losses, return air losses etc). By slowing the fan speed (RPMs), the fan pressure is dropping too, but while we are closing gates, we are actually modifying the system curve (this is the relationship between duct system air volume and pressure). The result is that we are actually moving system curve to the left side of the fan curve where the fan pressure is higher. The result is that we reduce air volume while fan pressure remains the same. There are other factors that are helping us: at reduced air volume, the air velocity at the duct system is reduced, and thus pressure losses are reduced. The same applies to the dust collector filter bags: with lower air velocity through the filter bags, the pressure losses are reduced (and the side effect is that lower air velocity through the filter bags is increasing the life of the filters - additional nice savings for users). Summary: as we are reducing the system air volume by closing gates, we are moving to the portion of the fan curve with higher pressure. Yet at the same time, by reducing fan RPM, we maintain the same pressure at lower air volume. The fan power drops significantly at a lower volume, resulting in nice electricity savings for the system owner.




Is there a PLC in the box?


Ecogate control units do not use a PLC. For small systems a PLC will be too expensive, and we prefer that even small shops can afford using the Ecogate system (inexpensive greenBOX 12 is using Freescale embedded processor). Maintaining minimum transport air velocities is "rocket science", it requires considerable processing power and use high-level programming language. The PLC will be too limiting for this task. The greenBOX NXT is using two ARM processors (like your smartphone), greenBOX MASTER is using industrial PC.




How does an Ecogate duct system design help save money?


The operating cost of an industrial ventilation system is mainly determined by the fan's electricity cost. The fan motor power is used for generating fan pressure and for air movement. The air movement is the effect that is collecting sawdust (or any other dust), but there is no air movement without pressure. The air volume is defined by the design air volume of all workstations connected to the system. It cannot be changed (unless you use an Ecogate system to close gates at unused workstations), but we can reduce the pressure losses by a better duct system design. Because fan power is divided between air volume and pressure (that relationship is defined by fan curve), by reducing the pressure losses the same fan can either use less power (and therefore savings for the owner) or the same power to move more air. How are we reducing the pressure losses? By simplifying duct layout, using the shortest possible run, reducing the number of elbows, by installing the fan without system errors. We can easily achieve 15% savings over traditional design. Even if the owner of the system will not use Ecogate, he or she will save 15% of the electricity month after month.




How can Ecogate slow a fan motor down and maintain minimum transport velocity?


People usually expect that their system is running at design air velocity 4,500 FPM in the main duct, and it cannot be slowed down. After measuring airflow in thousands of ducts during Ecogate engineering, we can assure you that unless your system was commissioned by a very professional dust collecting company a month ago, the air velocity in the main duct will not be 4,500 FPM. It can be any air velocity in the range of 2,000 to 9,000 FPM, based on changes to your ducting system, such as adding or relocating workstations. What we will do is to measure the air velocity as it is today and calculate maximum slowdown and saving possible based on minimum transport air velocity for the type of material you are ventilating (sawdust, metal dust, etc.). We are typically using minimum transport air velocities as recommended by industrial insurance company FM Global. A few examples: measured air velocity is 3,500 FPM, and minimum transport air velocity for this system is 3,500 FPM. In this case, we cannot slow down the system. In this case, we will evaluate if we can recommend to change a portion of the duct system to increase air velocity in the main duct to allow slow down while the system will be used with gates. Another example: we will measure air velocity 4,983 FPM in the main duct and minimum transport air velocity is 3,500 FPM. Based on this result, we will use the fan law to calculate possible electricity savings: 66%. At 66% savings, the return on investment will be good, it will make sense to invest in an Ecogate system. This is how we evaluate a system whether we can slow it down, and what will possible savings be. If the slowdown is not possible, we will propose cost-effective duct system changes that will allow you to install the Ecogate system and significantly reduce system operating costs.




Is Ecogate's duct design worth it?


Ecogate uses a proprietary process to design ducting to minimize pressure losses and maximize energy savings. Systems are designed for average factory utilization (regulated by Ecogate) versus being designed for maximum utilization (classical unregulated system). A system based on Ecogate design will be able to operate with all gates open (per our data mining, this is happening only a very small percentage of the time), but it will run optimally in average operating point (average use of machines). This approach ensures perfect dust collection while maximizing electricity savings.




What data can I use from Ecogate's Data Analytics platform?


There are many benefits to using Ecogate analytics; here are some use cases: full greenBOX backup is automatically included, electricity saving documentation as needed for incentive evaluation, compliance & reporting (some counties require reports of filter pressure or air volume), documented drop air velocities for compliance, documented machine utilization can be used for improvement of work flow or for designing new facilities, filter pressure monitoring (“You need to clean or replace your filter!”). Ecogate system monitors and records the filter pressure every 5 minutes, and these data are stored in our server. Thus, we change the baghouse when we notice a rising in filter pressure. Secondly, we could also monitor the data to see how long our new filter lasts. And over time, we can eventually have a better prediction on how frequently we should change the filter bags. This is just one example. There are other applications where our data analytics could prove to help in different ways. Check out our blog post on using our data analytics.




How does the system know which gates to open and close in order to maintain minimum transport velocity?


The basic principle: if for example only one gate is open at an active machine, the greenBOX control unit will keep opening additional gates on non-active machinery until desired minimal airflow is reached. The greenBOX 12 can do it in one duct zone, greenBOX NXT is three duct zones, and greenBOX® MASTER in nine duct zones. Several strategies are built-in - the simplest one will start opening gates from end of the branch. Contact us if you would like to know more!




How can Ecogate save energy when all machines are on?


Traditional dust collection systems provide ventilation to every workstation 100% of the time. The average workstation utilization, defined by the percentage of time a given workstation is actually making dust, is about 50%. This is based on measurement by hundreds of installed Ecogate Systems - we are monitoring how much of shift time the workstation activity sensors are active. Even at highly automated factories where the entire production line is operated by a central control system, dust-producing average utilization is about 85%. Even at this utilization, savings will be in the 30% to 40% range. Summary: at average factory dust/mist/fume producing utilization is typically 50% or below; based on the fan law this allows an Ecogate system to save 2/3 of the electricity used for fan operation.




How can Ecogate achieve such high electricity savings?


The laws of physic are on our side! The fan law says that as we are reducing fan air volume (by closing gates at inactive machinery), the fan power is reduced by the cubic function of air volume, which means the fan power is dropping really fast. A few examples: if we close just 20% of gates (this is possible everywhere, average utilization as we are continuously evaluating on all installed systems if 50% or less), based on fan law electricity, the savings is 49%. If we can close 30% of gates, then based on the fan law electricity savings is 66%. Keep in mind that ventilation fan motors are usually the largest motors in the factory, and they are running all shift time. No wonder that by using Ecogate system,an owner can reduce entire factory consumption by 15% to 25%.




What operating system do you use?


We have three levels of control systems: inexpensive greenBOX® 12 for smaller shops is using an embedded industrial 16-bit processor from Freescale, software is written in C++ (same language as a software used in Tesla cars or Spacex rockets). greenBOX® NXT for medium factories is using two ARM processors (the same type like in your smartphone); software is also written in C++, and the greenBOX® MASTER is using industrial PC with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise operating system.




How does Ecogate calculate savings?


We perform a detailed engineering process of analyzing the dust/mist/fume system. On an existing system we use a 3-phase power analyzer to measure what power the collection fan is currently using (so-called baseline power). We calculate design air volume (at what air volume the system should be operated), we measure the existing real air volume and evaluate what will be the air volume if we use gates to close drops at non-active workstations. Then based on modified fan law (a version preferred by utilities), we will calculate electricity savings. For a new system, we will calculate pressure losses and fan power. That will be the baseline power for a traditional ventilation system. The rest of the calculations are the same as for the existing system. A detailed engineering report is provided to the customer and to the utility company (most utilities offer cash incentives for the installation of energy-efficient systems). We offer system engineering for free with system purchase.




How do you avoid filter bags freezing during winter?


We offer an optional add-on, the "Winter Mode kit" for greenBOX® MASTER: it uses ambient and inside duct temperature probes and when the temperature drops to value set by the user the main fan will run at slow speed (speed can be set by user) to avoid filter bag freezing (freezing will render them unusable, only option is to replace them). Some companies are simply running the fans during winter at full speed - if they use the Ecogate system with Winter Mode kit they will achieve 90% electricity savings (compared to running fans at full speed).




If something breaks down in my Ecogate system, will that cause my entire dust collection system to be non-functional?


Even if the greenBOX® control system is not working for whatever reason (for example power supply is lost) you can use MANUAL MODE selector on Power MASTER VFD: in this mode all gates are open, and the fan is operated at full speed as if Ecogate system is not installed. For systems where high availability is necessary, we offer options with two fans, two VFDs (Lead & Backup). If one fan will stop working, the Ecogate system will start automatically as a BACKUP fan.




If the greenBOX Master breaks, does that cause production to stop?


Even if the greenBOX® control system is not working for whatever reason (for example power supply is lost) you can use MANUAL MODE selector on Power MASTER VFD: in this mode all gates are open, and the fan is operated at full speed as if Ecogate system is not installed. For systems where high availability is necessary, we offer options with two fans, two VFDs (Lead & Backup). If one fan will stop working, the Ecogate system will start automatically as a BACKUP fan.




How are the electricity savings calculated?


For Daily Summary Analytics The actual power used is measured in real-time by the Ecogate Power Master variable frequency drive (VFD). This measured power is compared to the baseline. For oversized and well-sized systems, the baseline is what the fan power would be if the fan were running at full power (in the US, 60 Hz). For undersized systems, the baseline is how much power a fan sized such that it would provide adequate suction for all machines on a system without Ecogate controls would use. This difference is added up over the course of the day, which yields the final kWh savings. Note that the savings are only calculated while the Power Master VFD is running. Ecogate can also stop the system when no workstations are in use in the middle of a shift (for example, during a lunch break), and these savings are not included in the calculations. For this reason, the reported savings are a conservative underestimate of the true electricity savings. For Monthly Summary Analytics The actual power used is measured in real-time by the Ecogate Power Master variable frequency drive (VFD). This measured power is compared to the baseline, which is calculated as if the fan were running at full power (in the US, 60 Hz). This difference is added up over the course of the month, which yields the final kWh savings. Note that the savings are only calculated while the Power Master VFD is running. Ecogate can also stop the system when no workstations are in use in the middle of a shift (for example, during a lunch break), and these savings are not included in the calculations. For this reason, the reported savings are a conservative underestimate of the true electricity savings. For more information about the principles behind the Ecogate system, click here.




How is workstation utilization measured?


For Daily/Monthly Summary Analytics Each workstation is equipped with a sensor that indicates whether that workstation needs dust collection at that particular point of time. This information is transmitted over Modbus to greenBOX control unit from all workstations. Workstation utilization is calculated as (time sensor is active) / (time dust collection system is running) for each workstation. Generally this is "cutting" utilization - it means we are recording when sensor is active, and sensor should be installed to be active only is particular workstation needs dust collection. Therefore we will not record as a active time when workstation is loaded, unloaded, programmed, under maintenance etc. These utilization data are sent to Ecogate cloud server where it is stored in database. User will receive daily and monthly emails with summary and can login to website for detailed information and data download (some these options require subscription).




What is included in the calculated electricity use?


For Daily/Monthly Summary Analytics The electricity use is reported directly by the Ecogate Power Master variable frequency drive (VFD), and is therefore for the fan motor only. The airlock, cleaning fan, transport fans are not included. The main fan motor is significantly larger compared to all other motors.




Are the data in the CSV file instantaneous, or are they 5-minute averages?


All data are averages calculated over the 5-minute period leading up to the time in the "time" column. greenBOX is transmitting complete data to the cloud server every 10 seconds, the cloud server will calculate average value every five minutes. The only exception is "statusAtTime" - this indicates the system status at precisely the point of time in the "time" column.




What does a negative value for gate velocity mean?


This means that this particular gate has not been calibrated yet. Please contact your Ecogate support person if you would like more information about gate calibration. Ecogate field technician can calibrate the gate during next service visit.




How do I import the data in the CSV attachment into Microsoft Excel?


Go to Ecogate website, login, and download data for request time/date range. Open a new Microsoft Excel workbook. Select the "Data" tab, then click "From Text" (under the "Get External Data" section). Select the CSV file you would like to import in the "Import Text File" window that pops up and click "Import". This will open the "Text Import Wizard". On page 1 of the wizard, make sure "Delimited" is selected in the "Original data type" section, and click Next. On page 2 of the wizard, make sure "Comma" is selected and that no other delimiter types are selected in the "Delimiters" section. Then click "Finish". Excel will ask you where in the document you would like to place the data; you can leave this as is and click "OK" to import the data into the spreadsheet.




What is Fan Run Time? What is System Run Time?


Fan Run Time is the total amount of time that the fan ran during the period for which data are reported. System Run Time is the amount of time that the fan ran while the system was in either the "Run" or "Cleaning" mode. Unlike the Fan Run Time, this does not include times when the system status was either Off-delay or Winter Mode.




How are the gate pressure, air volume, and air velocity reported?


Gate pressure, air volume, and air velocity are calculated when the system status is running, and the workstation is active. The values presented are averages over the duration that these conditions are met.




Can I see more data about my systems?


Yes! Just log in to your Ecogate gbmbase account. If you need help, please contact us. User Guide is available in pdf file format.




What kind of wires are Ecogate systems using?


In 2011 we introduced greenBOX 12 - these systems are using same wiring as today (Ecogate Standard cable = 5-conductors Belden cable + Sensor cable = 2-conductor, 600V AC insulation). greenBOX MASTER with industrial PC was in use from about 2006 - same wiring in 2011 as today (Ecogate MASTER cable + Sensor cable). Legacy systems: greenBOX PRO is using same wiring as greenBOX 12, greenBOX MASTER - PLC version: - same wiring as greenBOX 12; greenBOX for eight workstations (original greenBOX from 1997) - two wire twisted cable, green + bare conductor.





Sales

How is the lifetime dust collecting system cost lowest with Ecogate?


By far, the largest total expense of any dust/mist/fume collection system is the electricity to operate the fan. In fact, the lifetime cost of a dust/fume/mist collection system is very similar to the lifetime cost to operate an industrial electrical motor. According to the US Department of Energy, a typical 20-horsepower continuously running motor uses almost $6,000 worth of electricity annually, which is about six times its initial purchase price. The initial cost of an industrial ventilation system equipped with Ecogate is higher, but the operating cost is reduced by 67%. The total lifetime cost to operate the ventilation system with the Ecogate system is 30% to 40% less than a system without Ecogate.




Where can I purchase Ecogate products?


Ecogate sells direct to business and also through a robust worldwide dealer network. Send us your contact and location information hereand we will ensure that the appropriate arm of Ecogate takes care of your requirements.




How long does installation and commissioning take after the purchase order is issued?


Ecocate sells custom solutions that often require specially designed manufacturing. As a result, it is not uncommon for a custom solution to require 8-12 weeks or more from initial Purchase Order to final commissioning signoff by an Ecogate Engineer.




Does Ecogate sell outside of the US?


Ecogate has a worldwide dealer network and have currently have installations in North America (Canada, United State, Mexico), Europe, Asia and Australia. We are confident we can take care of your needs no matter where you are. Contact Us to get started!




Why do I need Ecogate?


With electricity costs going up every year, pollution being more of an issue, the safety of employees being a top priority and data analytics driving many operating decisions, Ecogate may indeed be exactly what you need. Our system is the most energy-efficient industrial ventilation controls system on the market today. We deliver on-demand suction when and where you need it and save you energy along the way. On top of that, we make the work environment safer and quieter and report on performance through our data cloud server and through daily and monthly analytic emails sent to you. We check all the boxes and allow you to save on spending your entire capital budget on a new, bigger, unnecessary dust collection system and work with your local utility to secure an incentive on your Ecogate project as well. See our Key Benefits.




Does Ecogate guarantee savings?


Ecogate savingscalculations come from measurements and other input from management regarding workstation utilization. These calculations are accepted by utilities across the nation for purposes of granting incentives. The math behind the calculations is exact and predictable. Your actual (versus predicted) machine usage will greatly impact the actual savings achieved.




Can I get an incentive from my utility company for installing Ecogate?


Most utility companies offer incentives for energy efficiency upgrade projects and Ecogate oftem qulaifies for reimbursement. We'll research what incentives are available in your area and work with you and your providers throughout the application process to ensure you get the maximum incentive available to you.




What's the oldest Ecogate system installed?


The first Ecogate system was installed the garage of a co-Founder of Ecogate in 1997.. This system is still working through 2021. The first industrial system was installed in the Los Angeles area in 2001.




How is Ecogate better than other systems?


Ecogate can maintain minimum transport velocities throughout the system unlike other products that claim to be the same. We also offer a sophisticated analytics platform to track workstation utilization, energy savings and much more. If you'd like to learn about all of our added features and benefits, please reach out to us here!




How do you know that I can save 50% of my energy bill?


When we talk about savings we are referring to savings regarding the dust collection fan motor, which is typically the largest motor in a factory. With over 20 years of experience and measured results (more detail is in next paragraph) we have developed the most sophisticated calculations in the industry. Implementing the Ecogate system typically results in savings of cca 50-70% of the energy consumption of the fan motor. However, dust collection fans are simply one part of the electricity consumption of your factory. By using Ecogate our customers typically see 15% to 25% of the overall energy bill of your factory, 50% reduction of the entire factory is not realistic. By using the Ecogate system, you will dramatically decrease electricity use for dust collection fan operation. Typical reduction is 66% savings. This is based on the so-called fan law (law of physics): if you reduce the fan air volume by 20% (by closing gates on unused machinery), your energy savings will be 49%. If you reduce air volume by 30%, your energy savings will be 66% and so on.

Our experience shows that cutting utilization of the workstations in the average factory is 50% or less (we are counting only time when the machine is producing dust and thus needs dust collection) therefore savings could always be even higher!





Safety

How does Ecogate comply with NFPA 664 (for woodworking facilities) and NFPA-652 (combustible dust)?


The main reason to fulfill NFPA 664 (woodworking facilities) and NFPA 652 (combustible dust) standards is to avoid danger from fire or blast. To avoid this issue, minimum transport air velocity must be maintained in the entire duct system. A properly designed, installed, and calibrated Ecogate System fulfills NFPA 664 and NFPA 652 requirements for control systems (these standards are very complex, and requirements for control systems are only a very small part of the standards). Ecogate systems measure and regulate minimum air volume as well as minimum air velocity in the entire duct system which is a critical part of these standards. The NFPA 664 requirements state that in 8.2.2.3 the volume and velocity resulting from the operation of such dampers or gates must not reduce the system velocity below the design minimum. The velocity has been determined to avoid dust settlement and accumulation that can lead to explosion and fire on the job site. There are more requirements which the system must fulfill in NFPA 664 such as 8.2.2.2.2 system Startup, 8.2.2.2.3 system shutdown, 8.2.2.3.1 capacity of the system, etc.




Is it guaranteed that my factory will be safer with Ecogate?


A properly designed, installed, and calibrated Ecogate System fulfills NFPA 664 and NFPA 652 requirements for control systems (these standards are very complex, and requirements for control systems are only a very small part of the standards). Ecogate systems measure and regulate minimum air volume as well as minimum air velocity in the entire duct system which is a critical part of these standards. There is no other control system that can say that. We not only maintain it but also monitor it and report performance back to you and to us.




Does Ecogate have surge protection?


greenBOX® control units and Power MASTER VFDs have appropriate protection for industrial equipment level surges. We are using industry best power supplies with surge protection built-in. Our Modbus communication ports are using best industry level surge protection. Please contact us for details.




Can Ecogate withstand a lightning strike?


No, our equipment cannot withstand direct lighting hit - lighting discharge can have a voltage of one billion volts and a current up to 500,000 Amper. Protection against lightning strikes should be designed as a cascading method: combining several levels of surge protection from building level up to the connected equipment. greenBOX® control units and the Power MASTER have appropriate protection for equipment level surges. Our Modbus communication ports are using the best industry level surge protection. Contact us for details.




Will you still use touchscreens after COVID-19?


No, we are planning to use HAL 9000 (Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computer); Fine print: HAL 9000 is a fictional artificial intelligence character and the main antagonist in Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series. First appearing in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. See HAL 9000 in action at Netflix.com or Amazon.com.




Can fire protection be wired through your control panel?


The Power MASTER VFD has several Enable inputs that can be used to connect "customer security" - one of them can be an output of the fire alarm system. If a fire alarm detects a fire, it will open the dry contact that is wired to the Power MASTER enable input, and the Power MASTER VFD will stop the main fan. This function works both in Automatic Mode (where the fan is controlled by the greenBOX® control system, and also in the Manual Mode). It is also recommended to connect spark detection system output to the Power MASTER enable input.




If the greenBOX stops working, what stops all blast gates from closing and collapsing the ducting?


There are multiple protection levels built-in Ecogate systems: the system is set to maintain minimum transport air velocity in the entire duct system. This requires that multiple gates are open at any time. The greenBOX® control system monitors the fan pressure and if the pressure is over a set level, it will stop the fan to protect the duct system. But what if greenBOX® is not working, for example, if power is lost? You are still protected, do not worry: the Power MASTER VFD has a built-in pressure transmitter connected to read fan pressure, wired to the VFD input, and programmed out of the factory to stop the fan if fan pressure is higher than set pressure. But what if a technician will override VFD controls and start the fan manually from the VFD control panel? Do not worry, the pressure protection is still working even if the VFD is operated manually.




Why is Minimum Transport Velocity, as required by NFPA, important?


NFPA rules are there for your safety: if sawdust will settle in the duct system your facility is in danger of fire or blast. To avoid this issue minimum transport air velocity must be maintained in the entire duct system. The NFPA 664 requirements state that in 8.2.2.3 the volume and velocity resulting from the operation of such dampers or gates must not reduce the system velocity below the design minimum. The velocity has been determined to avoid dust settlement and accumulation that can lead to explosion and fire on the job site. More information on NFPA requirements can be found here. More information on the hazards of dust fires can be found here. They are more requirements what system must fulfill in NFPA 664 standard like: 8.2.2.2.2 system Startup, 8.2.2.2.3 system shutdown, 8.2.2.3.1 capacity of the system etc.





Getting Started

How can I get my team trained to use Ecogate?


If you are considering to start using Ecogate systems at your facility we offer free online introduction to Ecogate systems. While Ecogate system is being installed at your facility, training for maintenance and for users are part of system commissioning by Ecogate field engineer. At any time you can contact us at support@ecogate.com, we are also available by telephone 888-ECOGATE which is answered live Monday - Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm PST. If you have a plus or platinum level service agreement with us, it comes with an annual service visit by one of our engineers. During this visit, one of their goals is to train any new employees on how to use the system. Additionally, we offer fully remote video conferencing training sessions. Please reach out to your sales representative to set something up!




If you're going to sensor a machine that starts producing dust immediately, how can you open a gate to 'anticipate' the cutting to be opened from the start of the cut?


On a CNC saw for example we will connect the sensor to the circuit that is holding material in place (holding arm). The holding arm is active before the saw starts cutting therefore we have enough time to open the gate. If possible we recommend ordering each workstation with dry contact output for Ecogate - the manufacturer of the workstation knows the timing and the computer (PLC) will close contact several seconds ahead of cutting time. If this isn't possible we will help: our chief electrician will create together with you a "sensor plan" - he will ask how each workstation works, which circuit is active before cutting, and he will recommend a proper sensor for each machine. Optionally we can use a light beam or laser sensor to detect when material is entering the machine. With over twenty years of experience installing sensors, we will help you to do it properly.




What is Duct System Cleaning function of greenBOX Control Unit?


Our controllers have built-in duct system cleaning functions which we can set as specifically as you'd like. We call this function an "insurance policy" - the system and ducting are designed to maintain minimum transport air velocity in the entire duct system, but the cleaning (or sweeping) function will open all gates and run the fan at full power to sweep the duct system. Say you want your system to be swept clean at certain times, at the end of the shift before the dust collector shuts off and in one-hour intervals throughout the shift, well we can do it. The interval and duration of each sweep are fully customizable. Also a so-called "Deep Cleaning" is available - this will run cleaning duct zone by duct zone - with increased fan power, and "Cleaning At Stop" (this will run sweeping cycle before system will stop).




How do I test if the sensor is working or not, when I turn on the machine?


There are several ways to check whether the sensor is working. You can easily follow what is working properly: first check sensor indicators, then check gate sensor indicator (available for Smart gates only), then check indicator on the greenBOX®. Ecogate Volt sensors are equipped by INPUT & OUTPUT indicators. For greenBOX® 12, please check yellow input signal indicator inside the greenBOX®. For greenBOX® NXT and MASTER, the easiest way is to use the remote access function to see all the sensors behavior on the system's display.




How do I login to see the data analytics of our system?


The data analytics dust collection platform is accessible at www.gbmbase.com. As a greenBOX® Master or NXT user, you will receive a link to register an account on the analytics platform. After successful login, you will be able to view and export data. Screenshots of what the platform looks like are shown here. The user guide and training by Ecogate engineer are available.




Can we adjust how much airflow gets delivered to specific locations?


With all gates open the air distribution is done by duct and workstation resistance (and it can be balanced preferably by design). If not all workstations are active the resistance of the branches can be fine tuned by adjusting minimum air flow (i.e. number of gates open) duct zone by duct zone (greenBOX MASTER has nine duct zones, greenBOX NXT three duct zones, greenBOX 12 one duct zone). The Fine-tuning the system is part of our on-site commissioning process. All air-flow is measured and tracked so changes can always be made with certainty and clarity of information.




How easy is it to install an Ecogate system? Can I install it myself?


The system is easy to install and user friendly if you follow user & installation guides. Our manuals are very detailed and offer numerous best practices on how to install all of our components, including mechanical and electrical diagrams as well. A licensed mechanical and electrical contractor in good standing should be able to install our systems for you. We generally recommend that users install their smaller greenBOX® 12 systems while the greenBOX® NXT and MASTER systems for larger factories should be installed by our team to guarantee the best installation. If you are not skilled in an air velocity & pressure measurements system setup and calibration, our technician is available to help.




Is it difficult to manage an Ecogate system?


During the commissioning process, an Ecogate engineer will train your team on how to use and manage the system. We also advise purchasing a Service Agreement which comes with unlimited technical support during regular business hours.




How do you determine where to install a workstation activity sensor?


On a CNC saw, for example, we will connect the sensor to the circuit that is holding material in place (holding arm). The holding arm is active before the saw starts cutting therefore we have enough time to open the gate. If possible we recommend ordering each workstation with a dry contact output for Ecogate - the manufacturer of the workstation knows the timing and the computer (PLC) will close contact several seconds ahead of cutting time. If this isn't possible we will help: our chief electrician will create together with you a "sensor plan" - he will ask how each workstation works, which circuit is active before cutting, and he will recommend a proper sensor for each machine. Optionally we can use a light beam or laser sensor to detect when material is entering the machine. With over twenty years of experience installing sensors, we will help you to do it properly.





Troubleshooting


Upgrading & Expanding

How can Ecogate support with workstation relocations and adding new machines?


Please contact us prior to any system changes at support@ecogate.com or at 888-ECOGATE. Flexibility to modify and re-adjust a system is a huge advantage of Ecogate on-demand ventilation systems, and it leads to capital investment avoidance. Traditional systems are not adjustable: you need to have a fan and dust collector size for 100% of air volume and it is close to impossible to implement any future changes. That does not fit well with the fact that most businesses must do changes on regular basis in reaction to changing orders, to increase productivity, to update workflow and accommodate new workstations. Ecogate's on-demand system can connect more workstations to the same dust collector and fan. With traditional systems any workstation relocation, adding or removing a workstation requires duct changes from point of change up to dust collector. If you ignore that duct changes are necessary with traditional systems, you will end up with an underperforming or unsafe system (because minimal transport air velocities are not maintained). With Ecogate on-demand system with high flexibility to adjust minimal airflow by dust zone, this is not necessary, and much larger changes can be accommodated by system settings without duct changes. Reducing air volume is as simple as entering a new number; same with increasing air volume (it is even possible to run the fan motor over 60Hz to increase air volume if reserve in fan RPM and motor power is available). Adjusting minimum transport air velocities is similarly simple. This is a huge advantage of Ecogate on-demand ventilation systems, which leads to capital investment avoidance.




What does capital avoidance mean?


With a conventional system, you need to ensure you have enough capacity and suction capabilities with everything open 100% of the time. With Ecogate controls, we can redirect more airflow to machines that are actually in-use by closing off gates at unused workstations and managing the fan's power to ensure proper airflow being delivered at all times. It means that same size of dust collecting system (fan, filter, duct system) can serve more workstations. In many cases, installing our controls have saved customers from buying a brand new larger, or second dust collector by managing their current capacity more efficiently. More on Key Benefits here.




Can I upgrade my existing system to an energy-efficient Ecogate system?


Generally, there are no restrictions - Ecogate can be used with any dust/mist/fume collecting system. As always, the devil is in detail: is your fan motor insulation class F or better (if not it can be replaced), is your duct system, fan and dust collector a good fit for your system? Summary: if your dust/mist/fume collecting system is performing well, it can be easily upgraded to the Ecogate system. If there are some issues, they can be addressed at the same time when your system will be upgraded to the Ecogate system.




If I change/add/remove a piece of machinery in my system, does the Ecogate system need to be recalibrated?


Yes, settings of the system must be changed after adding/removing machinery, but it is simple: for most of the changes you can just add new machine to the greenBOX® setup and system will perform properly. Same with removing machines. After bigger changes (many machines), a system calibration is necessary - our field engineer can help remotely or at site.




If I move my machines around a lot, does this affect my Ecogate system?


This is probably the best feature of Ecogate systems: traditional systems are not easily adjustable, to adapt traditional systems to ever-changing business environments (introducing new products that need different workstations, different workflows, different system layout) is nearly impossible. The result is that after a few changes traditional systems are in bad shape - the air velocities are too low or too high, systems are unbalanced). Adjusting performance with Ecogate systems is as simple as entering a few numbers. greenBOX® NXT and greenBOX® MASTER are displaying air velocities at gates, the main duct, showing what should be current air volume and at the same time displaying measured air volume - adjusting performance and balance is easy and fast based on measured values. The greenBOX® MASTER has a built-in Calibration wizard that will precisely measure fan curves, system curves, and automatically maps the system to the fan curve. We recommend system optimization after every change of the system and once per year. We are happy to show you how to do it, or we can do it for you as a part of a service agreement.





Remote Support

Can I get additional training after commissioning?


Yes, we absolutely can! In addition to the on-site training during commissioning and our user manuals, we can also provide additional support and training remotely. If you have a Service Agreement with us, we offer a remote training session every six months for exactly this reason...to train new employees, retrain functions or teach new functions to your entire team. Don't worry if you don't have a Service Agreement either... we'll still help, just reach out!




Can I get remote access to my Ecogate system?


Remote access and analytics is a premium feature available with our Service Agreement. Once set up, you can have several users access all data about your dust collection and Ecogate system. Contact us for more info on how to get started.




Who do I speak to if something breaks down?


The best way to reach out to a support team is to submit an email to support@ecogate.com. This will automatically generate a ticket and alert one of the Ecogate technicians to take a look at the ticket. Please provide as much information, pictures as needed since it will help our team to come up with a solution prior to contacting you back. If this is an emergency and needs an immediate solution, please call us at (818) 506-6016 and we'll work on getting back to you as soon as possible.