Extractly Ltd has recently completed an extraction system upgrade for Derbyshire- based Central Joinery Group, including a new 55kW Nederman main fan, as well as retrofitting Ecogate® energy-saving equipment throughout the factory.

Established 30 years ago, Central Joinery now operates two purpose-built manufacturing facilities and, although the company has kept abreast of the latest technology and manufacturing methods over the years, it has also managed to maintain its traditional craftsmanship standards. The company has developed an enviable reputation for the high-quality bespoke joinery and staircases it manufactures and, over the last decade or so, has gained industry accolades from some of the UK’s leading housebuilders.

At the company’s head office in Swadlincote, an ageing 55kW main fan was no longer working as effectively as it once did and, for operations director Kyle Archbold, the extraction system’s efficiency was beginning to be a cause for concern, as Extractly’s sales director, Jake Oldfield, explained: “Extractly had been recommended to Kyle by another customer where we’d recently commissioned the installation of three new fans in conjunction with the installation of Ecogate® ‘on-demand’ extraction technology. Kyle invited us to undertake a review of the current extraction system at Central Joinery and, as suspected, the old fan was indeed ready for replacement.

Pictured: Extractly supplied and installed a new 55kW Nederman main fan at Central Joinery Group’s head office at Swadlincote.

“The original 55kW fan was specified and installed to ensure sufficient capacity would be available to meet the factory’s maximum demand for extraction when all the woodworking machines on that line were operating and producing dust waste at the same time – and this was still the rationale for replacing the fan with a new Nederman 55kW fan. In addition, the factory also runs two high-speed CNC machines, with extraction provided via two separate 18.5kW fans.”

After carrying out an energy survey at Central Joinery, it was easy for Jake Oldfield to demonstrate the huge cost savings that could be achieved if Ecogate® technology was installed across the factory. The old 55kW fan had been running at full power, all day, every day, ever since it was installed, as were the two smaller fans. With Ecogate® controlling the system, extraction fans run only when required, and run at the optimum speed required to deliver the exact extraction volume required.

“There was definitely scope for savings to be made on the cost of extraction for the two CNC machines,” says Jake Oldfield, “but the biggest savings would be achieved by installing automatic motorised Ecogate® dampers in the ductwork serving each individual machine.”

Because of the bespoke nature of the work carried out at Central Joinery, the equipment list includes a number of specialist machines that are used on a regular basis, although only for short periods at a time, along with other items of equipment that are required for essential operations, but are only used infrequently.

“The varied use of machinery at Central Joinery completely negates the need for extraction to operate continuously at full power”, Jake explains: “With Ecogate® technology controlling the system, the fans run at the maximum speed necessary to extract efficiently, but only from machines that are in operation at any one time.”

“The noise level has dropped dramatically now the fan isn’t running continuously, and the more efficient extraction gives us reassurance that the workspace is a clean and much safer environment for our employees”

It’s clear to see that this would reduce electricity costs but, because of the laws of physics (the Fan Affinity Laws), the actual savings are disproportionately high — reducing the fan running speed by just 20% achieves a 49% reduction in the electricity needed to power the motor.

Effectively, for a company like Central Joinery, where all machines are rarely, if ever, in use at the same time, the fans will only use a fraction of the electricity consumed by running a fan continuously at full power. Extractly conservatively predict that the savings Central Joinery will make with Ecogate® installed should cover the cost of the capital investment in just 16 months.

“We’ve yet to receive an electricity bill since the installation was completed,” says Kyle Archbold, “but just by walking into the factory it’s obvious that the system is running slower, less often, and more efficiently — the noise level has dropped dramatically now the fan isn’t running continuously, and the more efficient extraction gives us reassurance that the workspace is a clean and much safer environment for our employees.”

Neal Chambers, production manager at Central Joinery, concurred wholeheartedly with the noise reduction: “I’ve got to admit I was sceptical about the benefits claimed by Ecogate but, in the days following the installation, the factory was so much quieter I had to go and check everyone was still working!”

The benefits for Central Joinery don’t stop with the cost savings and noise reduction; reducing fan speeds causes less wear and tear on motors and filter media, and Extractly have also calculated that the predicted energy savings equate to an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of over 26 tonnes — a big step towards reducing Central Joinery’s carbon footprint.
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