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Madison Area Technical College saves electricity in Cabinetmaking Lab with Ecogate

About Madison Area Technical College

Madison Area Technical College, a technical and community college in Madison, Wisconsin, serves around 15,000 full-time and part-time students.

Cabinetmaking Lab, Madison Area Technical College

The college's Cabinetmaking and Millwork program equips students with the knowledge and skills to plan and complete projects in cabinetry, furniture, and millwork. The well-equipped shop allows students to work on large-scale projects in partnership with local businesses for a comprehensive learning experience.

Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director Patrick Molzahn with students Lauren and Felix.

Program director Patrick Molzahn is the coauthor of Modern Cabinetmaking, a comprehensive textbook on custom cabinetmaking and home woodworking techniques.

Introducing Ecogate On-Demand Control System

When the Cabinetmaking Lab needed a new dust collection system, they reached out to local HVAC specialists AirFlow, Inc. as an authorized Ecogate dealer, AirFlow recognized the lab would benefit from an Ecogate on-demand control system.

Automatic Blast Gates installed at Madison Area Technical College

The system continually monitors all workstations in the lab, adjusting fan power in real-time to ensure excellent dust collection when needed. Additionally, the system turns the fan on and off automatically, creating a quieter environment that fosters learning. The lab's relatively low machine utilization enabled significant electricity savings compared to traditional dust collection systems.

Designing and Installing an Energy-Efficient System

In collaboration with Cabinetmaking Program faculty and AirFlow personnel, Ecogate designed an energy-efficient dust collection system for the lab, installed by H&H Industries, an AirFlow mechanical contractor.

greenBOX Master installed at Madison Area Technical College

Controlled by a state-of-the-art greenBOX MASTER, the system uses approximately 80% fewer kWh than traditional systems to service all 36 workstations. Each machine features an automated Ecogate blast gate that provides dust collection when necessary and closes the duct when not required. A 75 HP Power Master Variable Frequency Drive adjusts the fan motor speed to match system air volume to the machines' real-time requirements.

The machine utilization report is really cool. It can inform decisions such as where to focus preventative maintenance. - Patrick Molzahn, Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director

Tracking System Parameters and Utilization

Electricity Use by Day Report - Workstation Utilization Details

The greenBOX MASTER continually tracks various system parameters, such as duct pressure, machine usage, and fan speed, which are easily accessible via its user-friendly touchscreen interface.

A valuable feature for the lab is the automated Ecogate Monthly Summary, a standard feature on all greenBOX MASTER systems. It includes electricity usage details and machine utilization information. "The machine utilization report is really cool," says Patrick Molzahn. "It can inform decisions such as where to focus preventative maintenance."

The email format of the summary enables easy sharing with other stakeholders, including the Building Engineer and students. The data will be valuable in presentations and discussions on Lean Manufacturing. Patrick concludes, "The system has been flawless."


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