Optimized Dust Collection System for a Quieter Environment

Updated: Apr 12

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)



Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is a world-renowned center of innovation and one of the nation's few independent architecture schools, offering undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs. They are dedicated to educating architects who will imagine and shape the future.



Ecogate System at SCI-Arc


SCI-Arc Layout with Ecogate gates installed

An Ecogate system was installed, by a third party, at the SCI-Arc workshop back in 2017. According to Rodney, Fabrication Shop Manager at SCI-Arc, the Ecogate system has made a positive impact in his shop all these years. Sci-Arc has been able to redirect airflow from non-active machines to the 1 to 2 machines that are actively being used by the students during class.

​Installing an Ecogate system was absolutely the right move for our facility. Having exhausted the capacity of our initial system, we will look to Ecogate when we are ready to expand our equipment inventory. - Rodney Rojas, Fabrication Shop Manager

Years later, in one of our routine checks, we noticed an opportunity for further improvement. Our Lead Field Engineer, Thanh Vu, visited SCI-Arc to work together with their friendly staff on optimizing the performance of their system and even achieving the silent benefit.



Optimized Dust Collection System for Schools


SCI-Arc's woodworking shop has about 15 machines that include 4 sanding disks, a belt sander, several bandsaws, a table saw stop, among others. Their dust collection system has a 30-HP fan motor and could only support a less desired limited amount of air volume. Time had passed, and as with any shop, things change that require recalibration for optimal performance.



In our recent visit, during our routine tune-up, we implemented the Auto-Start and Auto-Stop function of the greenBOX 12 on their dust collector control panel. This move has automated the start up and stopping of the dust collector, which is done multiple times per day. This may seem like a small feature, but when you're an instructor, you want the most time and attention going towards the students, not the tools.



A Quiet Dust Collection System


Dust Collector at SCI-Arc

Additionally, since their dust collection system is also equipped with an ABB VFD (Variable Frequency Drive), we programmed the greenBOX 12 to regulate the VFD fan speed using analog input 4-20 mA. This is the silent benefit, to provide the shop a much quieter environment when none of the tools are active or when the instructor is talking. The system decreased the noise level substantially by only running the VFD at 36-40 Hz range.

​The Ecogate system has improved our overall ability to mitigate the dust created in our busy academic environment while reducing mechanical noise to better allow instruction of students and communication between all shop users. - Rodney Rojas, Fabrication Shop Manager

The dust collection system at SCI-Arc is now a prime example of an efficient system optimized for a classroom environment. SCI-Arc expects to expand their equipment inventory, and having an Ecogate system will offer immense flexibility when the challenge arrives.



Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)


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