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Optimized Dust Collection System for a Quieter Environment

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

In 2017, a third party installed an Ecogate system at the SCI-Arc workshop. According to Rodney Rojas, Fabrication Shop Manager at SCI-Arc, the system has significantly improved the shop's efficiency by redirecting airflow from non-active machines to the 1 to 2 machines actively used by 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

During a routine check, our Lead Field Engineer, Thanh Vu, noticed an opportunity for further improvement and worked with SCI-Arc staff to optimize the system's performance, achieving the silent benefit.

Optimized Dust Collection System for Schools

SCI-Arc's woodworking shop has about 15 machines, including 4 sanding disks, a belt sander, several bandsaws, and a table saw stop. Their dust collection system has a 30-HP fan motor, but it could only support a limited air volume. Over time, changes in the shop necessitated recalibration for optimal performance.

During our recent visit, we implemented the Auto-Start and Auto-Stop function of the greenBOX 12 on their dust collector control panel, automating the system's start-up and stopping. This feature allows instructors to focus more on students and less on managing tools.

A Quiet Dust Collection System

Dust Collector at SCI-Arc

With an ABB VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) equipped, we programmed the greenBOX 12 to regulate the VFD fan speed using analog input 4-20 mA. This "silent benefit" provides a much quieter environment when tools are inactive or when the instructor is speaking, substantially reducing the noise level by running the VFD at a 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

SCI-Arc's dust collection system is now an excellent example of an efficient system optimized for a classroom environment. As they plan to expand their equipment inventory, the Ecogate system will offer immense flexibility to meet future challenges.


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