All new FastClip ductwork system, installed by DCS Ltd, delivers up to 20,000m3/hr of dust-laden air to the external filter unit from the company’s high-speed CNC machining centres


C W Fields was established a century ago, by Charlie Walker Fields, and later became C W Fields & Son when Charlie’s son joined the company in the 1930s. Although the current business would be unrecognisable to Charlie, its roots as a family concern are still at the heart of the company and, over the years, several generations from a number of families have been employed by the South Yorkshire-based firm.

Today, C W Fields & Son is an industry-leading manufacturer, supplying high-performance security and fire doors, acoustic and hygiene doors, wall panelling, and bespoke joinery to specialist markets. Under the patronage of chairman Toni Dalla-Riva, the business is now forging ahead with a senior management line-up that embraces a new generation of family ownership; with daughter Francesca and son Marc Dalla-Riva, son-in-law and commercial director John Cowx, and Nigel Fields, who started there as an apprentice joiner nearly 40 years ago.

The Ecogate installation includes three greenBOX 12 controllers, three Ecogate PowerMASTER VSD units, and 20 individual Ecogate dampers fitted to 16 production machines

To satisfy growing demand for the company’s products, a new 12,000 sq ft extension to the current building has significantly increased manufacturing space – facilitating a major reorganisation of the factory layout to deliver a more efficient and streamlined production path, as well as accommodating the installation of a new five-axis CNC machine; just the latest addition to C W Fields’ existing armoury of hi-tech machinery.

To enable the relocation of machinery it was obviously necessary to re-structure the dust extraction system, and Messrs Dalla-Riva and Cowx had discussions with Ray Townley, area sales manager for Dust Control Systems Ltd (DCS), regarding design and installation of a complete new ductwork system and, with the expected increase in demand being placed on the dust extraction system, Toni and John had also anticipated the need to replace the existing fan sets and filter unit. 

All new FastClip ductwork system, installed by DCS Ltd, delivers up to 20,000m3/hr of dust-laden air to the external filter unit from the company’s high-speed CNC machining centres

Having completed a full survey of the site, Ray Townley prepared proposals for DCS to install a complete new FastClip ductwork system throughout the factory. However, Ray was convinced that DCS could circumvent the need, and the cost, of replacing the existing fans and filter and, in addition, significantly reduce the extraction system’s power consumption.

As Ray Townley explains: “I discussed the project with Ian Rayner, sales manager at Ecogate Ltd, and we both agreed that the planned reorganisation presented C W Fields with the ideal opportunity to benefit from the implementation of Ecogate extraction-on-demand technology.” 

After further discussions with Fields, Ian Rayner undertook a full evaluation of the extraction requirements; gathering detailed data on usage, running times, and volume requirements of all the production machinery. “

By taking account of all machine downtimes, such as loading and unloading, tool changeovers, as well as operator break times, and the infrequent running of some more specialist machines”, says Ian Rayner, “DCS were able to present a proposal to Fields that showed a significant reduction in total extraction volume could be achieved if an Ecogate system was installed.”

In fact, the data collected at Fields revealed that the expected average reduction in extraction volume requirement, across the complete extraction system, would be around 20% with Ecogate installed, which meant the existing extraction fans and filter unit could continue to operate well within their specified capacities. 

Motorised Ecogate dampers, integrated into the FastClip ductwork, operate automatically as individual machines come on- or off-line; optimising extraction and maximising savings

The existing system is powered by three independent fan sets rated at 30kW, 37kW and 45kW. With all three fans in operation and running at 90% of full load – all day every day – the total power consumption would be over 100kW per hour; equating to around 225,000kWh per year. With Ecogate installed, it was calculated that power consumption could be reduced by around 100,000kWh per year – yielding a saving of over 40% on electricity bills, and a return on investment in under four years.

The Ecogate system installed at Fields comprises: 20 Ecogate dampers, which automatically open as an individual machine starts to process material and require dust extraction; three greenBOX 12 controllers, which monitor machine usage; and three PowerMASTER variable speed drive units which, as instructed by the greenBOX controller, independently adjust the speed of each of the main fan sets, in real time, to exactly match the continually fluctuating extraction requirements as machines come on- or off-line. 

There are currently 16 machines requiring dust extraction but, with each greenBOX 12 capable of controlling up to 12 machines, and the flexibility of FastClip ductwork, there is still plenty of room for expansion at C W Fields.

“We were very impressed with DCS throughout the whole process,” comments John Cowx. “The company provides a truly professional service and, from the outset, it was clear that both Ray and Ian were keen to ensure that Toni and I were provided with all the relevant information we needed to make an informed decision on this key capital purchase.” As well as the significant cost savings predicted for C W Fields’ electricity bills, the expected reduction in power usage equates to a staggering reduction in annual CO2 emissions of over 57 tonnes, and the installation also fulfils the necessary prerequisites for a Green Business Fund grant application. DCS is a fully accredited supplier with the Carbon Trust, and is able to assist with a grant application and provide all the necessary documentation required to support an application.