Madison Area Technical College
Ecogate case study: Madison Area Technical College Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program, Madison, WI, USA
Madison Area Technical College is a technical and community college in Madison, Wisconsin. The college serves some 15,000 full-time and part-time students.
The Cabinetmaking and Millwork program at the college provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to plan and complete projects in cabinetry, furniture, and millwork. In the program's well-equipped shop, students can work on larger scale projects in partnership with local businesses to gain comprehensive experience.
Program director Patrick Molzahn is also the coauthor of Modern Cabinetmaking, a comprehensive textbook on the techniques used by custom cabinetmakers and home woodworkers.
Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director Patrick Molzahn with students
Lauren and Felix.
Photo courtesy of Tadsen Photography.
Ecogate designed the new dust collection system for the lab to have optimal energy efficiency.
The system is controlled by a state-of-the-art Ecogate greenBOX Master.
When the Cabinetmaking Lab was looking for a new dust collection system, they reached out to local HVAC specialists AirFlow, Inc. As an authorized Ecogate dealer, AirFlow realized that the lab would benefit from an Ecogate on-demand control system.
The system works by continually monitoring all workstations in the lab and adjusting fan power in real-time such that all machines have excellent dust collection when they need it.
In addition, the system turns the fan on and off automatically. This means that when machines aren't running, the fan doesn't run either, resulting in a quiter environment that is more conducive to the educational process. Because machine utilization is relatively low in the lab, substantial electricity savings compared to a traditional dust collection system were possible.
Working with Cabinetmaking Program faculty and AirFlow personnel, Ecogate designed the new dust collection system for the lab to have optimal energy efficiency. The whole system was installed by AirFlow mechanical contractor H&H Industries .
Controlled by a state-of-the-art greenBOX MASTER, the system uses approximately 80% less kWh than a traditional system would need to service all 36 workstations.
Each machine is equipped with an automated Ecogate blast gate, which provides dust collection when necessary and closes the duct when not required. A 75 HP Power Master Variable Frequency Drive modulates the fan motor speed to match the system air volume to the requirements of all the machines in real-time.
"The machine utilization report is really cool. It can inform decisions such as where to focus preventative maintenance."
Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program Director
In addition to providing outstanding energy-efficiency, the greenBOX Master also continually tracks a number of system parameters, including the pressure in various point in the ducting, which machines are running, the fan speed and so on. This information is readily available via the easy-to-use greenBOX touchscreen.
A unique feature with a lot of value for the lab is the automated Ecogate Monthly Summary, a standard feature on all greenBOX Master systems. This includes electricity use details as well as the utilization for each machine. "The machine utilization report is really cool," Patrick Molzahn says. "It can inform decisions such as where to focus preventative maintenance."
The email format of the summary also makes it easy to share the data with other stakeholders. In Patrick's case, this includes the Building Engineer as well as his students. The data will be useful in presentations and discussions on Lean Manufacturing.
"The system has been flawless," Patrick concludes.
An automated monthly report with electricity use and workstation utilization details
is a standard feature of each greenBOX Master system.