Birmingham-based E & SW Knowles are enjoying the energy-saving benefits of a DCS ‘on-demand’ extraction optimisation system.
Activity of 18 machines is monitored and fan speeds adjusted accordingly.




Dust Control Systems (DCS) reports another successful retrofit of its energy-saving ECOGATE ‘on-demand’ extraction optimisation system.

Wood machinist and timber merchant, E & S W Knowles, is one of the West Midlands’ best known and respected names in joinery manufacture. Operating from a 50,000 sq ft facility in Witton, Birmingham, the firm undertakes a diverse range of moulded profile work including the manufacture of doors, doorsets and window frames. The firm’s product portfolio also includes timber pallets and packing cases. A large, well-equipped mill features three planer moulders, one of these being a UNIMAT 3000, and has the capacity to machine large and complex moulded sections. Set-up is by way of a modern toolroom with template maker and profile grinder and the company also provides a complete in-house lacquering and finishing service.

This year sees the company celebrating its 90th birthday – the family business was born from simple beginnings in 1923 when Bill Knowles started out by selling sawdust to local engineering firms. Leading today’s celebrations is present owner and chairman Martin Wright, who is Bill Knowles’ step-grandson. “We are very proud of our heritage and with the fact that the business has been retained within the family”, says Martin Wright. “We have managed to grow the business over the last 20 years and today we employ 42 people. We pride ourselves on supplying high quality products and this is achieved thanks to our team of skilled and dedicated people, plus our willingness to invest in best technology.”

A recent decision to install new machinery at Witton prompted the company to call in DCS to discuss options to expand the capacity of their existing dust extraction plant. Steve Horner, managing director at Knowles, explains: “Our initial enquiry related to extending the dust plant, yet DCS were able to offer an engineered solution involving retrofitting Ecogate to our existing system. It meant that we wouldn’t require any additional capacity but could in fact reduce extraction volumes and, additionally, make savings on electricity usage.”

DCS were contracted to carry out the work which involved installing two ECOGATE greenBOX12 controllers, together with individual ECOGATE motorised damper gates with sensors to 18 woodworking machines. Two existing 55kW main fans and an 18.5kW waste transfer fan were fitted with variable speed drives. The greenBOX12 units control all motorised gates, receiving signals about machine activity, controlling the variable speed drives and continually adjusting fan speed. By closing gates to machines not in use, fan speed is reduced whilst still efficiently extracting wood dust in other areas of the workshop. A further benefit is that the system does away with the needless removal of warm air from the factory.

Steve Horner adds: “The system has more than lived up to our expectations. When DCS carried out their initial assessment of the extraction demand from each machine they estimated that we could expect electricity savings of 50%. In actual fact, savings far exceed this and are coming in at around 60%. At this rate, the savings on electricity will mean that the system should pay for itself in just two years.”


Dust Control Systems Ltd., Horace Waller VC Parade, Shawcross Business Park, Dewsbury, WF12 7RF
Telephone: +44 (0)1924 482500   E-mail:
Freephone: 0800 0407116

Sitemap Terms & Conditions