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Dust Collection in Schools

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

There are a few things that make schools unique from a dust collection perspective.

Ultimately, the reason behind the differences is that the purpose of the two environments – schools and factories – is different: one is focused on creating products while the other is focused on instruction & learning.

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.

Here are some of the ways in which this difference manifests itself:

Need for quiet. In schools, a premium is typically placed on the noise level in the environment: the quieter the better. This allows for effective instruction. In particular, if the dust collection system can be off while no machines are running, the instructor can easily explain material without having to raise his or her voice. This creates an environment conducive to learning.

Low machine utilization. The utilization of machines in schools can vary greatly, and can frequently be quite low. This is not only because of the time dedicated to instruction, but also because instruction is frequently focused on a particular process or step in the manufacturing process, so machines involved in other work are off during this time.

Hours. The dust collectors in schools typically operate for far fewer hours than their counterparts in factories. This is largely determined by the class schedule.

LEED Credits. Energy efficiency is important to many schools as more than a matter of economic sense. Frequently, schools aim to be as energy-efficient as possible as a matter of principle. LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – is the leading benchmark in green building, and many schools get LEED certified.

Cutting-edge technology. Schools train the workforce of the future. As a result, schools place emphasis on using modern technology and cutting-edge tools to prepare their students to be effective employees in the workplace of the future.

Ecogate in Schools

Over the past 17 or so years, Ecogate controls have been installed in educational facilities around the world precisely because they provide value in the metrics that are important to schools.

Our projects include systems in cabinetmaking labs, navy shipyard training facilities, art & sculpture shops, and more.

NYU Steinhardt School sculpture shop

NYU Steinhardt School sculpture shop

Ecogate works by providing dust/fume collection precisely when & where it is needed based on machine activity. The system turns on and off automatically – meaning that when the instructor is explaining new material and no machines are running, the environment is completely silent.

As soon as a machine needs dust collection, the system powers on automatically a provides suction where it is needed. Automatic blast gates open to active machines and close to inactive machines. This lets a variable frequency drive adjust the speed of the dust collector fan to match demand in real-time, resulting in substantial electricity savings. Typically, Ecogate-equipped systems in schools use 70% to 85% less electricity than before the Ecogate installation.

This outstanding energy efficiency also qualifies Ecogate-equipped buildings for LEED credits.

To learn more about how Ecogate dust collection controls work, click here.

Case Study: Madison Area Technical College

Madison Area Technical College is a technical and community college in Madison, Wisconsin. The Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at the college provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to plan and complete projects in cabinetry, furniture, and millwork. In the program’s well-equipped shop, students can work on larger scale projects in partnership with local businesses to gain comprehensive experience.

MATC Cabinetmaking Lab

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

When the Cabinetmaking Lab was looking for a new dust collection system, they reached out to local HVAC specialists and Ecogate dealer