Dust extraction units are often the largest consumers of electricity in furniture manufacturing facilities, accounting for up to 40% of total energy costs. In a world where energy prices are rising and requirements for a more sustainable approach to manufacturing have never been more prevalent, choosing the right dust extraction system for your production can help you make substantial strides in improving your businesses’ carbon footprint, whilst reducing your overheads. But, where do you start? We talk to Matt Pearce, Managing Director of TM Machinery and the exclusive AL-KO dust extraction dealer in the UK, to find out… 

“The facts are clear. Better dust extraction leads to more efficient woodworking machinery, reduced maintenance costs and enhanced sustainability across the entire workshop and it’s our job at TM Machinery to show you how,” begins Matt. “When investing in a new system, there are some fundamental features that set good quality dust extraction units apart from the rest. We tell our customers to look past the motor size and focus on overall performance.”

Take AL-KO’s compact Power Unit range for example. Each model is designed with an optimised fan housing and features advanced IE3 or IE4 motors, which guarantee 100% air recirculation without loss of temperature. Why is this important? Matt explains, “It makes big energy savings. Dust extraction is all about moving and filtering air, so how your extraction unit achieves this is key. AL-KO’s Power Units are designed around a revolutionary AL-KO Opti Jet®, a unique, high-performance filter system that offers optimum filter cleaning while using the least amount of compressed air possible, offering both efficient extraction and reduced running costs.”

Matt adds, “When it comes to the best energy efficient dust extraction filters, units that use antistatic polyester needle felt class M filters, like the Power Unit range, will provide longer life, higher levels of filtration efficiency and better air permeability – resulting in optimal machinery performance and reduced energy consumption.

“Additional automatic functions – like AL-KO’s start detection, shut-off gates with automatic activation – can also minimise unnecessary energy use, whilst also helping to increase the life of the filter.”

By choosing respected brands with high build quality, you can be sure that dust extraction units are built to withstand the robust demands of a busy workshop and remain compliant with all UK laws. “AL-KO’s units coincide with EN and DIN standards,” says Matt. “For over 15 years, German law has stated that manufacturers must have a maximum exposure rate of 2 mg/m³ in the workplace and AL-KO have continued to focus their research and development in this area to create a complete dust extraction offering that falls well below the UK’s exposure threshold. This cannot be guaranteed when using lesser quality units.” 

Matt adds, “For a new generation of workshop and joinery owners, creating a cost-effective, eco-friendly business is an increasingly important goal. With considered machinery choices, you can reduce energy consumption in your business. This, alongside responsibly managing waste material, woodworking workshops and factories can actively participate in creating a greener and more environmentally conscious industry and healthy working environment. Our experienced team can help you on this journey and are always on hand to help you navigate your way through dust extraction.”

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