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Dust Collection in Schools: Unique Challenges and Ecogate Solutions

Understanding the Differences Between Schools and Factories

Schools and factories serve different purposes, with schools focusing on instruction and learning, while factories concentrate on creating products. This distinction leads to unique requirements and challenges when it comes to dust collection in educational settings.

Madison Area Technical College Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director Patrick Molzahn with students.

Madison Area Technical College Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director Patrick Molzahn with students.

Some key differences between schools and factories include:

  • Need for quiet: Schools require a quieter environment to facilitate effective instruction. A dust collection system that can be off when machines aren't running allows instructors to explain material without raising their voices.

  • Low machine utilization: Machine usage in schools varies greatly, often due to time dedicated to instruction and focus on specific processes or steps in manufacturing.

  • Operating hours: Dust collectors in schools usually operate for fewer hours than those in factories, mainly due to class schedules.

  • LEED Credits: Many schools strive for energy efficiency as a matter of principle and aim to achieve LEED certification.

  • Cutting-edge technology: Schools emphasize modern technology and tools to prepare students for the future workforce.

Ecogate in Educational Facilities

Ecogate has been installed in educational facilities worldwide for over 20 years, providing value in areas important to schools, such as cabinetmaking labs, navy shipyard training facilities, and art & sculpture shops.

NYU Steinhardt School sculpture shop

NYU Steinhardt School sculpture shop

Ecogate operates based on machine activity, providing dust and fume collection precisely when and where it's needed. The system turns on and off automatically, ensuring a quiet environment when machines aren't running. Automatic blast gates open and close according to machine activity, allowing a variable frequency drive to adjust the fan's speed and match demand in real-time. This leads to substantial electricity savings, typically reducing electricity usage by 70% to 85% in schools.

Case Study: Madison Area Technical College

MATC Cabinetmaking Lab

Madison Area Technical College Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director Patrick Molzahn with students Lauren and Felix. Photo courtesy of Tadsen Photography.

Madison Area Technical College summary for January 2016

Madison Area Technical College's Cabinetmaking and Millwork program partnered with local HVAC specialists and Ecogate dealer AirFlow, Inc. for a new dust collection system. The new system uses 81% less electricity than a traditional system without Ecogate controls. Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director Patrick Molzahn appreciates the automated Ecogate Monthly Summary email, which provides an overview of the dust collection system's performance: "The machine utilization report is really cool. It can inform decisions such as where to focus preventative maintenance."

Read the full Madison Area Technical College case study here.

Case Study: NYU Sculpture Shop

Founded in 1890, the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development boasts an art department with a state-of-the-art sculpture shop. Equipped with both woodworking and metalworking machinery, the shop features a CNC router, panel saw, Sawstop table saw, compound miter saw, vertical and horizontal bandsaws for metal and woodworking, an air compressor system, and a downdraft table for sanding.

Sculpture Shop Manager Gustabo Velazquez emphasizes the importance of maintaining a well-equipped, modern facility. In line with this commitment to cutting-edge technology, the school embraced the Ecogate on-demand dust collection system, first installing it in 2006. Velazquez reiterates the importance of keeping the NYU Sculpture Shop up-to-date and well-equipped for its students.

"It's important to us to have a well-equipped, modern shop," says NYU Sculpture Shop Manager Gustabo Velazquez

Sculpture Shop Manager Gustabo Velazquez says, "The Ecogate system has been super."

Read the full NYU Sculpture Shop case study here.

To learn more about what Ecogate can do for you, get in touch with us.

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