From its 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility, just off the M62 on the outskirts of Rochdale, Crystal Doors’ 34-strong workforce is dedicated to the production of bespoke vinyl-wrapped doors and accessories for kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, and manufactures over 200,000 pieces a year.

The company offers a vast selection of designs, foils and materials, and has the capability of profiling doors up to 3m in length, as well as custom-printed, curved and 3-dimensional panels.

More recently, the installation of high-tech robotic paint and glue spraying equipment, which utilises 3D laser technology, has increased production speeds and ensures a perfect finish for painted doors.

Established in 1994, by managing director Richard Hagan, Crystal Doors has earned a distinguished reputation for its environmental quality and efficiency achievements, with year-on-year improvements in environmental performance indicators, and has gained recognition from industry, business and environmental organisations, including being named Business of the Year 2015 in the Rochdale Business Awards.

The company is FSC- and PEFC-accredited and certified by BM TRADA, and is currently progressing towards ISO 14001 environmental management certification. Over 99% of all waste is recycled, including collection and on-site storage of wood waste to fuel a 980kW biomass boiler; providing heat and hot water for the factory and offices. Since relocating to Rochdale six years ago, energy consumption and electricity costs for the building have been reduced by replacing over 90% of the lighting with LED units, or high-efficiency alternatives.

However, in common with most production units, dust and fume extraction is the biggest single energy consumer and, although Crystal Doors had previously invested in high-efficiency extraction equipment from DCS, the existing filter unit pre-dated the relocation to Rochdale.

DCS sales director, Melvyn Bathgate, explains: “With the increased levels of production that Crystal Doors has achieved through investments in new equipment, the 20,000m3/hr capacity filter was working close to its limit – even with our Ecogate energy-saving technology installed.”

“DCS and Crystal Doors go back over 20 years,” says Richard Hagan, “and I had no hesitation in asking Melvyn to put forward a proposal for a new system which would fulfil both our current and future needs.

“Also, our factory is situated alongside Rochdale Canal – which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Natural England – so, as well as being energy-efficient and ‘future proof’ in terms of its capacity, it’s very important that the system design and engineering quality safeguards against the risk of MDF dust ending up in the canal.”

Having considered all of Crystal Doors’ extraction requirements, including further planned investments in new production equipment, DCS submitted designs and costs for a comprehensive installation project which would need to be implemented to a very strict deadline, over a long weekend shutdown.

“Our design and project management team had planned the work to the last nut and bolt, and our installation engineers worked with military precision to meet the deadline,” comments Melvyn Bathgate. “Production at Crystal Doors finished at the end of the late shift on the Thursday night and we were committed to commissioning the new system for production to start up again at 6.30am the following Tuesday. The Schuko filter was delivered to site in pre-constructed sections then built-up in advance, on adjacent ground, ready to swing into place on the Friday morning.”

The old filter unit has been replaced with an ATEX-Certified Schuko ECOVAR VALIDUS modular chain filter, with a flow-optimised cascade system of 5 x 30kW fans, capable of extracting up to 80,000m3/hr from four separate lines.
Dust-laden air extracted from the factory is drawn through anti-static, polyester needle-felt tubular filter bags, and waste dust is continuously removed from the filter media by a pulse jet cleaning train, with secondary removal of any remaining deposits by a pneumatic-mechanical shaking system.

The waste dust falls into the lower hopper section of the unit and is then discharged, pressure-free, by means of a rotary valve, to a screw conveyor which in turn feeds a bucket elevator; finally delivering the waste into a large storage silo.

The installation also includes four ATEX-approved CARZ back-pressure flap valves; one in each of the four main ducts. In the event of a dust explosion, the valves prevent the effects of a pressure wave and flames travelling from the filter, back along ductwork, and into the factory.

DCS has also provided additional fire safety and air quality monitoring at Crystal Doors: a four-zone spark detection system will trigger a fast-acting water extinguisher if a spark is detected in either of the four main ducts, and the integrity of the system’s cleaning efficiency is constantly monitored by a particulate emission measuring system which has sensors fitted to each of the four return air ducts.

As well as delivering clean warm air to the factory to maintain optimum temperature for vinyl application, one of the return air outlets replenishes air extracted from the spray booth; ensuring a warm, dust-free atmosphere for a quality finish and quick drying times.

Key to achieving the energy-efficiency targets projected by DCS is the installation of an Ecogate greenBOX MASTER SRL 200. With the capacity to control and interrogate up to 200 motorised gates, and up to four variable speed drives, the MASTER SRL 200 is the most sophisticated control unit in the Ecogate technology range.

The system auto-starts when the first machine is powered up, constantly optimises fan speeds throughout a three-shift production schedule, and auto-stops when all machines are shut down. Setup, monitoring and service functions are all accessible via the colour touch screen, and stored machine activity data can be downloaded to a removable flash drive.

Furthermore, all control functions, activity logging and data storage can be securely accessed from any authorised internet-connected PC. The MASTER SRL also maintains minimal airflow to ensure a balanced system, programs filter cleaning cycles, and generates status indicators for system errors.

The benefits of the Ecogate ‘Extraction-on-Demand’ system have been well-documented in the press since DCS first introduced the brand to the UK in 2010, and it’s now a ‘must have’ component for any extraction installation; whether it’s a new system or a retrofit installation.

Ecogate optimised extraction systems automatically adjust power output to the fans, in real time, to match the exact requirements of the manufacturing process, resulting in significant energy and cost savings – at Crystal Doors, early indications show that the new system is running at almost half the cost of the previous installation.

Richard Hagan concludes: “As always, the service provided by DCS was exemplary, and we now have the most efficient extraction system possible for our business, with capacity to spare and a life expectancy in excess of 20 years.”