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Introducing Support for Cascading Fans

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

We are pleased to announce that we have developed support for dust collection systems which use cascading fans.

In the Cascading Fans setup, multiple fans control air flow into a single dust collector. The fans are operated in parallel – but not all fans are necessarily active at all times. For example, when only a few machines are active at the same time, the air volume required to provide good dust collection at that point of time is fairly small. At that time, only a single fan may be running. As additional machines are turned on and require dust collection, additional fans will be brought online.

Dust Extraction System with Multiple Main Ducts

Dust Extraction System with Multiple Main Ducts

This cascading fans setup is particularly common in parts of Europe. The biggest advantages of this setup materialize when combined with multiple smaller main ducts. In this setup, the system can be operated at a very wide range of air volumes, which leads to high electricity savings during periods when very few machines require dust extraction.

Software Updates

This functionality has now been integrated into our state-of-the-art greenBOX Master controller.

Ecogate greenBOX Master dust collection controller

Ecogate greenBOX Master dust collection controller

The greenBOX Master now supports controlling up to 9 fans in a cascade for each dust collection system. With the ability to manage up to four separate dust collection systems, that gives the greenBOX Master the ability to control up to 4×9 = 36 variable frequency drives / fans.

In addition to fans used in a cascade, the updated greenBOX supports additional fan operation modes:

  1. parallel / serial fan mode, where multiple fans are always run at precisely the same speed

  2. lead & backup fan mode, where the system can quickly switch from one fan to another in case of any issues with the lead fan. This is typically used in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, as well as in hospitals and other safety-critical applications.

  3. optimized cascading mode – this mode controls a fan cascade and intelligently eliminates the issues caused by operating identical fans at different speeds, where each fan generates different pressure

The greenBOX also automatically balances wear between all available fans by rotating the order in which the fans are brought online. For example, in the lead & backup fan mode, the two fans switch their roles – the fan that is the lead on one day will be the backup fan on another day. Similar rotations are implemented for the cascading fans modes.

Selecting any of these new modes is a simple as selecting the desired option using the greenBOX Master touch screen.

Ecogate greenBOX Master fan mode selector

Ecogate greenBOX Master fan mode selector

The parameters of all the variable frequency drives are set directly from the greenBOX, which means making any changes is also easy. As before, fan power consumption (and many other metrics) is recorded and made available through our web-based analytics platform.

Immediate Success at Crystal Doors

One of the first installations that takes advantage of this new technology is at Crystal Doors, the manufacturer of bespoke vinyl-wrapped doors and accessories located near Manchester in the United Kingdom. The company has a reputation for its environmental quality and efficiency achievements.

Crystal Doors Manufacturing Facility

Crystal Doors Manufacturing Facility

Through investments into new machines, the facility was operating near the limits of the existing dust collection system’s capacity. That is why Crystal Doors approached Dust Control Systems Limited (DCS).

DCS recommended and installed a new filter unit which uses a flow-optimized cascade of five 30 kW fans.