Traditional vs On-demand Dust Collection Systems Compared

Updated: Mar 9

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


In this article



Executive Summary


With a slightly higher initial investment, the on-demand dust collection system has the lowest cost of ownership and excellent adjustability to changes (like adding or removing workstations). In addition, filter bags will last longer, noise in the shop will be reduced, data analytics will help you discover your workflow bottlenecks, and remote support will minimize your maintenance personnel participation.


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 of an Ecogate system is slightly higher than that of a traditional system. The big difference being the additional components an Ecogate system comes with: A Variable Frequency Drive, a control computer, and automatic gates. The cost difference is usually only slightly higher because the size of the total system can be slightly reduced if an Ecogate solution is utilized.


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


If you are running three shifts, the return on investment is typically one year (two years if you are running two shifts, and three years if you are running one shift). In Washington, Oregon, and East Coast states cash incentives from power companies are available to reduce cost, in some cases up to 50%. We can check with your utility company if an incentive is available in your area.



Total Cost of Ownership


A dust collection system is typically in use for 15 to 20 years. An Ecogate on-demand system starts with slightly higher costs, but the savings during all those years in operation are too great to ignore.


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



System Adjustment Flexibility


Traditional dust collection systems are not adjustable: you need to have a fan and dust collector sized for 100% of the air volume and it is close to impossible to implement any future changes. This becomes a huge challenge to manufacturers today that must take on changes on a regular basis in reaction to change orders, increase in productivity, update in workflow, and accommodation 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 requires duct changes from the point of change through to the dust collector. If a factory does not make these necessary duct changes they end up with an underperforming or unsafe system (because minimal transport air velocities are not maintained).


Ecogate's on-demand system comes with high level of flexibility, so it often does not require these duct changes. Reducing air volume is as simple as entering a new number into the controller; same with increasing air volume (it is 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 similarly as simple.


This is a huge advantage for Ecogate on-demand systems, it leads to capital investment avoidance. Saved capital can be used for 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 air velocity through filter media in FPM (Feet Per Minute).

The lower the air velocity the better the filter media cleaning and thus longer filter life (optimally infinitive).


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



Data Analytics


As each workstation in the shop (factory) is equipped with workstation activity sensors, Ecogate on-demand system monitors utilization of all workstations in your factory, saving the data in the cloud database.


Factory managers will receive a monthly email about the utilization of each workstation in the factory, the overall average utilization of the factory, and a comparison to one month ago and two months ago. These are important metrics to evaluate the factory's efficiency over time, comparing factory to factory, year to year.


Good data is a good start for improvements. The same principle is used to evaluate a dust collection system's electricity savings. Such data is not available if you are using a traditional dust collection system, which nowadays, is a disadvantage compared to manufacturers who've adapted the Industry 4.0 practices.



Reduced Noise


Usually a side benefit, but for some factories, a very good one, a reduction in noise comes with an on-demand system. As the Ecogate system is closing suction to inactive workstations, less air is rushing through the drops to the workstations, and factory noise level is reduced. The noise close to the fan is also reduced as the Ecogate on-demand ventilation system is running at a reduced fan speed to match the air volume of active workstations only.


The Ecogate system also starts and stops automatically based on workstation activity - there is no rushing air noise before the shift, during breaks, or after the shift. With a traditional dust collection system, there is no such benefit.



Electricity Savings


Did we mention electricity savings? Based on the Fan law (law of physics) the fan power consumption is reduced by 50% if you reduce the air volume just by 20%. No wonder the average electricity savings with Ecogate on-demand ventilation system is 66%.


What is even 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 use, resulting in lower operating costs during a time when reducing your costs is important. As throughput improves, workstation use increases, and the Ecogate system will run faster to accommodate.


As you can see, the Ecogate system is adjusting collection performance based on factory economic cycles, helping you get through any type of slowdown, while supporting you during increased periods of increased demand. The traditional system will run at full speed even during an economic slowdown, increasing your operating expenses at a time when you need to save.



Environmental Impact


The Ecogate system is the most energy-efficient exhaust ventilation system in the world, allowing our users to do their part and reduce their carbon footprint. Who doesn't feel better knowing that they're doing a positive action in this world? Also, more and more shareholders are demanding that factories reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.


Typically, the fan motors are the largest motors in the factory, and they are operated the entire shift time, therefore electricity savings are great. On the other hand, traditional ventilation systems are huge energy consumers.


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



Remote Technical Support


Every Ecogate system has remote access via the internet which is a huge advantage because our technicians can help you remotely and immediately as every setting including all parameters of the VFD is accessible.


We know that you cannot operate the factory without proper dust collection, and we are ready to help. No such advantage exists with traditional ventilation systems.



Summary


Ecogate on-demand dust collection systems are the least expensive way to own proper dust collection. They have huge adjustment flexibility to accommodate workstation changes. This leads to capital avoidance. Filter media lasts longer, and noise inside the factory is reduced. Average electricity savings is 66%, and Ecogate on-demand ventilation systems are environmentally friendly.


While an initial investment in Ecogate on-demand systems is slightly higher, there are cash incentives available from utility companies.


Are you using Ecogate on-demand ventilation already? If not, it is easy to start now.

Ecogate will help you with every step…just reach out.



Author: Ales Litomisky

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