Faster, Better, Quieter

Modern Woodcrafts was looking for better efficiency, better overall performance, and lower noise levels. The project heated up quickly when one of the existing vane pumps failed.

“One way we’re staying at the leading edge in our market is by researching the latest innovations and choosing the best machine for each process,” says Joe Legere, Executive Vice President for Modern Woodcrafts. This focus on continuous improvement led Modern Woodcrafts to upgrade its vacuum production with a pair of Atlas Copco’s intelligent vacuum pumps, with Variable Speed Drive (VSD).

Now, one model GHS 1300 VSD+ and one GHS 730 VSD+ work cooperatively to provide the required pressure, in real time. Both feature groundbreaking technology including Atlas Copco’s patented inlet valve that provides modulating vacuum control working in conjunction with VSD vacuum production. The result is a leap forward in energy efficiency compared to oil-sealed and dry vane vacuum pumps. In addition to this, the Atlas Copco pumps are much quieter.

Vacuum is now delivered to the router tables through a piping network and held at constant pressure right up to a control valve. When the valve opens, vacuum production instantly ramps up to meet the need. When a production cycle is done, the valve is closed and the pumps turn down or even shut down completely, according to demand.

“Much of the energy savings occurs when vacuum to the router table is valved off,” Galpin explains. “While the vane pumps would continue to run, drawing full power, Atlas Copco’s VSD pumps turn down automatically whenever demand drops. They will even shut themselves down and soft restart as needed. Minimizing power draw during the vacuum off portion of the production cycle contributes significant energy savings.”

Reduced sound levels provided an additional benefit. “We’re always taking steps to reduce noise pollution in our work environment,”says Scott Thibodeau, Production Manager for Modern Woodcrafts. “The Atlas Copco pumps are much quieter than the vane pumps to begin with, and because we centralized our vacuum system we were able to locate them in a dedicated room, directly adjacent to sawdust producing machines. That keeps our work environment quieter and our vacuum equipment cleaner.”

“I love the vacuum project,” says Legere. “Everything works as we hoped and anticipated, especially the efficiency, dependability and quietness of equipment. It was a complicated project and it took some time to get it all running with the best products for our needs. I appreciate that Atlas Copco made it right, and even assisted us in securing a financial incentive from our power utility, for investing in more efficient production machinery. From where I stand, Atlas Copco is the best for vacuum and also compressed air. Their variable speed technology is just fantastic because you only make what you need.”

Legere emphasizes that the vacuum project is part of an ongoing effort at Modern Woodcrafts to achieve greater control over the flow of automated production. “All around the world we are seeing the growth of small, focused, smart factories with systems connected through the Internet of Things. Customers define their needs and manufacturers build to demand, quickly and to a very high standard of quality. The systems we’re integrating today, including our Atlas Copco vacuum pumps, are moving us farther in that direction.”

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