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Why Ecogate's greenBOX is the Top Choice for Industrial Ventilation in 2023

The Future of Industrial Exhaust Ventilation


Industrial exhaust ventilation is a critical component of any factory, but it's often overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency. Despite the clear market need, major manufacturers in the US are not selling energy-saving, demand-responsive ventilation systems. This is where Ecogate comes in. We've just unveiled the 2023 greenBOX Nxt, the latest addition to our controller family, and it's set to revolutionize the industry. Let's take a closer look at this cutting-edge technology.



In this article



The Untapped Potential of Energy-Efficient On-Demand Ventilation


Industrial Energy Efficiency - link to acrticle

It's intriguing to note that despite the clear market need, many major industrial ventilation manufacturers in the US aren't offering energy-saving, demand-responsive ventilation systems. This gap might be due to the fact that these systems can extend the life of dust collector filters, a significant revenue source for these companies. While these firms are rolling out new energy-efficient technologies like efficient filter media, improved dust collectors, and ventilation fans, on-demand gated systems like ours can save up to a 25 times more electricity on fan operation.



Rather than viewing other systems as competitors, we see them as collaborators. We're united in our mission to enhance energy efficiency in dust, fume, and mist collection systems. However, it's unfortunate that only a small proportion of installed dust/fume/mist collection systems have adopted on-demand technologies, which could potentially save up to two-thirds of electricity costs on fan operation.


It's worth noting that promoting energy efficiency is three times more cost-effective than generating new renewable energy with associated storage. The industrial exhaust ventilation sector, characterized by the use of the factory's largest motors and continuous operation during shifts, offers a prime opportunity for significant energy savings.


It's crucial to understand that these potential savings are based on the immutable principles of the fan law (affinity law), not on unfounded claims of miraculous efficiencies. The real challenge lies not with businesses pursuing similar goals, but with those that continue to install traditional systems despite the availability of a far superior, energy-saving alternative. Now is the perfect time to join us in our quest for industrial energy efficiency!



The greenBOX Advantage: Superior Hardware and Software


The new greenBOX Nxt, along with our upcoming larger control units - the greenBOX Max and greenBOX Master, are equipped with the latest hardware, powered by the 12th and 13th generation of Intel processors. Coupled with our modern software (you can learn more about it here), this powerful combination enables us to manage multiple dust/fume/mist collection systems using a single control unit. Stay tuned for the launch of the greenBOX Max and greenBOX Master, which are built on the same platform and promise even more capabilities.




Comparing Industrial Ventilation Control Systems


Industrial Ventilation Control Systems

IVEC

Inteliair

Save System

Ecogate System

Company

Hastings Air

CECO

Nederman

Ecogate

Number of Systems Controlled by Single Control Unit

1

1

1

Unlimited*

Number of Gates/Workstations

xxx

xx

xx

Unlimited*

Number of Ventilation Systems

1

1

1

Unlimited*

Approx. number of installations

xx

xx

xx

Unlimited*

Air Velocity/Volume/Pressure Measurement at Gates (drops)

NO

NO

NO

YES

Air Velocity Measurement at Duct Branches

NO

NO

NO

YES

Precise (whole duct diameter) Air Velocity Measurement

NO

NO

NO

YES

Closed Loop Air Volume Regulation

NO

NO

NO

YES

Communication to Higher Level Control System

NO

NO

NO

YES

Calibration Wizard (System & Fan Curve Measurement, Mapping)

NO

NO

NO

YES

Cascading Fans, Fans in Parallel or Series, Lead & Backup Fans

NO

NO

NO

YES

Heavy-duty 24V DC Gates with Limit Switches and Air Velocity/Volume Measurement

NO

NO

NO

YES

Fulfills NFPA 664-20 (woodworking), and 652-19 (combustible dust)

NO

NO

NO

YES

Granular system adjustments (special settings for wide belt sanders, automatic winter mode, and more)

NO

NO

NO

YES

*Number of gates, workstations, systems, and Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) is virtually unlimited by the software, but practically limited by size of power supply for the gates, and number of Modbus communication ports.



The greenBOX Nxt: Unmatched Performance at an Unbeatable Price


The Ecogate greenBOX Nxt is a powerhouse, capable of managing dust/fume/mist collection systems with up to 72 automatic gates for as many workstations. It can also control as many dust collection systems as there are linked workstations, which includes the ability to manage numerous Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). Currently priced at $2,499, the greenBOX Nxt offers exceptional value, costing approximately three times less than competitor control systems that can only manage a single dust/fume/mist collection system. When it comes to managing multiple systems, the cost advantage of the greenBOX Nxt skyrockets, becoming ten times more cost-effective compared to other systems. This makes it a perfect choice for factories planning for future expansion, as it can easily accommodate additional systems and workstations. It's no wonder our initial inventory has already sold out!

Ecogate greenBOX Nxt

While our software doesn't inherently limit the total number of workstations (automatic gates) and Variable Frequency Drives (fans) it can manage, practical constraints come into play due to the power supply capacity for the automatic gates and the number of Modbus ports available on each greenBOX model.


This is why we've engineered larger control units like the greenBOX Max, which can manage up to 144 gates (limited by power supply), and the greenBOX Master, capable of managing up to 288 gates (also limited by power supply). Built on the same software/hardware platform, we can create even larger control units, and systems can be configured as distributed systems.



Reliability Redefined: Introducing High-Performance Power Supply Redundancy


We're excited to unveil a new feature that enhances the reliability of our larger control units, the Max and Master models: a redundant power supply. With over twenty-five years of experience in implementing dust collection control systems, we've consistently exceeded industry standards for system reliability. However, we've noticed that power supply failures have been the most common issue affecting control units and gates.


high-end redundant power supply system

To address this, we've designed a dual high-end redundant power supply system for our new larger control units, the greenBOX Max and Master. Each unit comes equipped with two identical top-of-the-line industrial power supplies. With an impressive 94% efficiency, active power factor correction, and a Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) of 1 million hours, these systems showcase exceptional efficiency and durability.


The idea is simple: if one power supply fails, the other seamlessly takes over, ensuring uninterrupted operation. At the same time, the greenBOX notifies the local maintenance team to address the faulty power supply.


Some might question the need for such a high-end feature. However, consider the scale of our customers, which includes some of the largest factories in the woodworking and pharmaceutical industries. A production halt in these settings could lead to losses in the millions of dollars, or even require the disposal of entire batches if dust collection is disrupted mid-process in a pharmaceutical factory. Furthermore, with thousands of systems installed globally, even a small percentage of power supply failures can result in a significant number of compromised systems. Given these stakes, we believe our dual power supply approach is not just desirable, but essential.



What Is Not Measured Cannot Be Controlled


Many competing on-demand ventilation systems operate by maintaining a specific pressure in the main duct, facilitated by a pressure sensor connected to the Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). However, this approach has a fundamental flaw. Let's illustrate this with a practical test: in a pressure-regulated system, seal off the main duct at some distance from the fan (you can temporarily disconnect the duct joint for this). Despite the blockage, the pressure-regulated system will still adjust the VFD speed to regulate the pressure in the remaining main duct, even though there's no airflow due to the closed main duct. This shows that the pressure-regulated system doesn't account for the resistance of the duct system, which changes when you close gates at inactive machines.


Airflow Illustration - Pressure, Air Volume, Dust System Resistance

To better understand this, let's draw a parallel with electrical circuits. In an airflow system, pressure (in "wc) is equivalent to voltage (V) in an electrical circuit, while airflow (CFM) is similar to current (A). Both are closely linked with system resistance, whether it's in the duct or an electrical circuit. Pressure drives airflow, but the volume of airflow at a given pressure depends on the resistance of the duct system. Therefore, maintaining constant pressure doesn't guarantee the desired airflow as it's dependent on duct system resistance.