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On the Origins of Ecogate

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

The origins of the world’s most advanced industrial ventilation control system can be traced back to a very different industry – filmmaking. It is here that Petr Litomisky spent the majority of his early life, working in Hollywood as a cinematographer.

In the 1980s, Petr came up with the original clapper-with-color-chart, an ingenious way to ensure color consistency across shoots that would eventually become the industry standard. Petr would use his clapper on his shoots, and gradually friends and acquaintances started asking him to make them some as well. By the mid 1990s, Petr was spending long hours in his garage shop making clappers.

Ecogate co-founder, Petr Litomisky, created the original clapper-with-color-chart.

Ecogate co-founder, Petr Litomisky, created the original clapper-with-color-chart.

Petr’s work making clappers was slowed by the need to operate the ventilation system that kept his shop clean – he would have to manually turn on the dust collector, open the blast gate to the machine he was using, and then close the blast gate and turn off the dust collector again. This was auxiliary work that was slowing Petr down and keeping him from focusing on doing the woodworking he loved. Surely, he thought, there must be a better way.

Petr approached his nephew, Ales Litomisky, who was at that time running a successful control system company that continues to operate globally to this day. Together, they came up with the concept for the system: a sensor at each machine to detect when it is making dust, an electronic gate in the duct leading to the machine, and an intelligent brain controlling all of it, from the gates to the dust collector. This is the basic principle on which Ecogate’s patented system continues to operate to this day.

Ecogate co-founder, Petr Litomisky, with an original Ecogate

Ecogate co-founder, Petr Litomisky, with an original Ecogate

In 1998, Petr and Ales had a working prototype, and Petr called up a favor with Dr. Sun from Sunhill Machinery to show the system at work at the Sunhill Machinery booth at the IWF Fair in Atlanta in 1998.

By the time Petr and Ales got to the booth on the first morning of the show, there was group of 20 people in suits huddled around their exhibit. It was in that moment and during the conversations that followed that it became clear that the potential of Ecogate extended far beyond garage shops: they could save factories hundreds of thousands of dollars year after year.

Glen Armand's Ecogate system has been in continuous operation since 1999