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Comparing Traditional vs On-demand Dust Collection Systems

In this article, we'll summarize and contrast the differences between traditional and on-demand, energy-saving dust collection systems. "Exhaust ventilation systems" encompass dust, fume, and mist collection systems.



In this article



Executive Summary


Though the initial investment for an on-demand dust collection system is slightly higher, it boasts the lowest cost of ownership and excellent adaptability to changes, such as adding or removing workstations. Additionally, filter bags last longer, shop noise is reduced, data analytics help identify workflow bottlenecks, and remote support minimizes maintenance personnel involvement.


All this while you save two-thirds of the electricity originally used for the fan's operation on your traditional dust collection system. Being environmentally responsible would just be the big cherry on top!



Dust Collection Systems Compared


Traditional Systems

On-Demand Systems

Initial Investment

100%

Higher. Cash incentives are available from utilities to reduce cost.

Total Cost of Ownership

100%

35 - 40% Lower

Adjustment Flexibility

Near none

Plenty + capital avoidance when scaling

Filter Media Life

Deteriorates at 100% rate

​Deteriorates at 50% or less rate

Data Analytics

None

​Workstation utilization, savings & more

Factory Noise

Max

Significantly reduced

Electricity Savings

0%

Reduced by 66% on average

Environmental Impact

Hazardous

Significant carbon footprint reduction



Initial Investment


The initial investment for an Ecogate system is marginally higher than that of a traditional system, mainly due to the additional components an Ecogate system includes: a Variable Frequency Drive, a control computer, and automatic gates. However, the cost difference is usually minimal, as the overall system size can be slightly reduced when using an Ecogate solution.


An Ecogate system uses a duct design that's as short as possible for maximum efficiency. The dust collector and fan size are typically also somewhat reduced compared to traditional systems.


If you're running three shifts, the return on investment is usually one year (two years for two shifts, and three years for one shift). In Washington, Oregon, and East Coast states, cash incentives from power companies can reduce costs, sometimes by up to 50%. We can verify with your utility company if an incentive is available in your area.


Cost of Ownership - Traditional vs On-Demand Industrial Ventilation Systems


Total Cost of Ownership


A dust collection system typically operates for 15 to 20 years. While an Ecogate on-demand system starts with slightly higher costs, the savings accrued during its operational years are substantial.


The chart above demonstrates how an Ecogate on-demand system's lifetime cost is reduced by 35% to 40% compared to traditional dust collection systems (including initial investment, maintenance, and electricity costs).



System Adjustment Flexibility


Traditional dust collection systems are not adjustable: a fan and dust collector must be sized for 100% of the air volume, and future changes are nearly impossible to implement. This presents a significant challenge for manufacturers, who must frequently adapt to change orders, increased productivity, workflow updates, and the addition of new workstations.


Ecogate's on-demand system can connect more workstations to the same dust collector and fan. With traditional systems, any workstation addition or movement necessitates duct changes from the point of change to the dust collector. Failing to make these duct changes can result in an underperforming or unsafe system (due to insufficient transport air velocities).


Ecogate's on-demand system offers a high level of flexibility, often eliminating the need for these duct changes. Reducing air volume is as simple as entering a new number into the controller; the same applies to increasing air volume (it's even possible to run the fan motor over 60 Hz to increase air volume if the fan's RPM and the motor power reserve are available). Adjusting minimum transport air velocities is equally simple.


This flexibility is a significant advantage for Ecogate on-demand systems, leading to capital investment avoidance. The saved capital can be allocated to other business priorities.



Longer Filter Media Life


The ability to clean filter media (preferably by reverse air jets) depends on the so-called Air to Cloth ratio: this is the air velocity through filter media in FPM (Feet Per Minute). The lower the air velocity, the better the filter media cleaning and, consequently, the longer the filter life (optimally infinite).


As Ecogate's on-demand system closes suction at inactive workstations, the system air volume and the air velocity through the filter media are reduced. The result is a longer longer filter media life and savings on replacement filters and labor compared to traditional systems.



Data Analytics


Since each workstation in the factory is equipped with workstation activity sensors, the Ecogate on-demand system monitors the utilization of all workstations, storing the data in a cloud database.


Electricity Use

Factory managers receive a monthly email about the utilization of each workstation, the overall average utilization of the factory, and a comparison to the previous month and the month before that. These metrics are crucial for evaluating factory efficiency over time, comparing factories, and tracking yearly progress.


Good data is an excellent starting point for improvements. The same principle is used to evaluate a dust collection system's electricity savings. This data is unavailable with traditional dust collection systems, which puts them at a disadvantage compared to manufacturers who have adopted Industry 4.0 practices.



Reduced Noise


Though usually a side benefit, the reduction in noise that comes with an on-demand system is highly valued by some factories. As the Ecogate system closes suction to inactive workstations, less air rushes through the drops, reducing the factory noise level. Noise near the fan is also reduced, as the Ecogate on-demand ventilation system runs at a lower fan speed to match the air volume of active workstations only.


The Ecogate system also starts and stops automatically based on workstation activity, eliminating rushing air noise before shifts, during breaks, and after shifts. Traditional dust collection systems don't offer this benefit.



Electricity Savings


Did we mention electricity savings? According to the Fan law (law of physics), fan power consumption is reduced by 50% when air volume is reduced by just 20%. It's no wonder that the average electricity savings with an Ecogate on-demand ventilation system is 66%.


What's more important is that during any type of production or economic slowdown, the Ecogate on-demand ventilation system will slow down the fan based on workstation usage, resulting in lower operating costs. As throughput improves and workstation usage increases, the Ecogate system will run faster to accommodate.


As you can see, the Ecogate system adjusts collection performance based on factory economic cycles, helping you navigate any type of slowdown while supporting increased periods of demand. In contrast, traditional systems run at full speed even during an economic slowdown, raising your operating expenses when you need to save.



Environmental Impact


The Ecogate system is the most energy-efficient exhaust ventilation system globally, allowing users to reduce their carbon footprint. Who doesn't feel better knowing they're making a positive impact in the world? Moreover, more and more shareholders are demanding that factories minimize their carbon footprint as much as possible.


Typically, fan motors are the largest motors in the factory and operate throughout the entire shift, so electricity savings are substantial. On the other hand, traditional ventilation systems consume significant amounts of energy.


Did you know that improving electricity efficiency is about three times less costly than producing the same amount of electricity?



Remote Technical Support


Every Ecogate system features remote access via the internet, providing a significant advantage as our technicians can help you remotely and immediately, as every setting, including all parameters of the VFD, is accessible.


We understand that your factory cannot operate without proper dust collection, and we're ready to help. No such advantage exists with traditional ventilation systems.



Summary


Ecogate on-demand dust collection systems are the most cost-effective way to own proper dust collection. They offer significant adjustment flexibility to accommodate workstation changes, leading to capital avoidance. Filter media lasts longer, and noise inside the factory is reduced. With an average electricity savings of 66%, Ecogate on-demand ventilation systems are environmentally friendly.


While the initial investment in Ecogate on-demand systems is slightly higher, cash incentives are available from utility companies to offset the cost.


If you're not already using an Ecogate on-demand ventilation system, it's easy to start now. Ecogate will assist you with every step—just reach out.



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