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Dust collection system leads to significant energy savings for Global Wood Group

Dust collection system automated control and motor upgrades lead to significant energy savings for Global Wood Group

From CIPEC’s “Heads Up” Newsletter:

“We wanted to go beyond substituting low-efficiency motors for high-efficiency ones, which can have a long payback period,” says Vladimir Rabinovitch; Project Manager at Global Wood Group; however, “when motor upgrades are combined with industrial control systems, the savings are significant.” The company’s retrofit of its Toronto-area plants’ dust collection systems proves that point, boasting up to 50 percent annual reduction in electricity use.

Global Wood Group, a furniture manufacturing company with locations in Toronto and Concord, Ontario, employs more than 100 people at each plant.

The 5574 square-metre Toronto facility was the first to be retrofitted in 2010. The facility generally operates on a three-shift schedule, five and ½ days a week for 50 weeks a year. The two dust collection systems were powered by 50-hp and 75-hp motors running at full speed throughout the production period, accounting for about 30 percent of the facility’s total electricity consumption. The dust collection system consumed almost 590 000 kilowatt hours (kWh) in electricity a year. Moreover, this continuous use led to significant wear on the system belts and bags and to high noise levels within and outside of the facility.

The significant energy consumption prompted the company to look for new dust collection technology able to save energy. Rabinovitch explains that EcoGate Smart Dust Collection system that was selected automatically closes unused ports, reducing the air volume substantially, which, in turn, translated into significant savings. For an air volume reduction of 10 percent, for instance, power use is reduced by about 30 percent.

The EcoGate system uses motorized gates at each workstation, which are opened by sensors that are activated when a machine is turned on. The production machines’ activity is monitored, air volume is calculated, and the duct collector fan speed is controlled via variable frequency drives (VFDs). Minimum airflow is maintained in the duct system to avoid dust settling. “The system has been in operation for three years and performance is good with a steady 25 to 30 percent saving in energy cost on dust collection,” notes Rabinovitch.

In September 2012, a second EcoGate system was installed at the Concord facility which generally operates on a two-shift schedule, five and ½ days a week for 50 weeks a year. The two dust collection systems were powered by two 100-hp motors running at full speed throughout two shifts per day. The retrofit also included the replacement of one of the 100-hp motors with a 100-hp NEMA MG1, Part 31 standard motor, modification of the duct network, the installation of 19 gates and 36 sensors at 28 production machines, as well as the installation of two VFD and GreenBox controllers, and the wiring that connects the sensors and gates to the controllers.

The results are impressive, with 50 percent reduction in power demands – from 142 kilowatt (KW) to 72 KW, and an estimated 280 000 kWh, or about $33,600, in annual electricity savings, with payback period of about two years. The company also received a rebate from Ontario’s Power Stream saveONenergy program of $39,776 for the project.

Rabinovitch advises other companies who are looking at motor retrofits to analyze energy savings for each application and says that investments in VFDs and industrial control systems are the best route to maximize energy savings.

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