Woodcraft Industries in Molalla, Oregon (formerly Brentwood Corp.) has been manufacturing cabinets in the Willamette Valley for 30 years. They are an innovator in the wood products industry and drive to attain higher energy efficiency throughout their production process.
Woodcraft manufactures cabinet doors from solid wood and Rigid Thermofoil (RTF). RTF is a process where a sheet of thermofoil is bonded to a finished profile of a cabinet door cut from a sheet of engineered wood. The result is a beautiful, durable cabinet door at a significant cost savings from solid wood.
Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) routers are critical equipment in the production of cabinet doors. The routers cut cabinet doors and other shapes directly from large sheets of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) and other types of engineered wood. The CNC routers use large industrial vacuum pumps to hold the sheets of wood to the cutting table while the router cuts and shapes the MDF panels.
Woodcraft discovered an opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of the vacuum system. With the help of The Energy Trust of Oregon, the energy efficiency consulting firm Energy350, and Rogers Machinery Company, a project was implemented to save energy.
The existing CNC routers were connected to three fixed-speed industrial vacuum pumps. The vacuum pumps were controlled individually using inefficient on-board controls. Most of the time, multiple vacuum pumps were running at vacuum levels
deeper than needed.
A new, Rogers KRVP Series rotary screw vacuum pump with a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) was supplied by Rogers Machinery. The VFD changes the speed of the vacuum pump to maintain a stable vacuum level. The vacuum pump also features a built-in digital sequencer. The sequencer allows the new vacuum pump to control the two fixed speed vacuum pumps in a coordinated manner to maximize system efficiency. The system was installed and is working well and has been verified to save over $5,300 annually!
By John Molnar, Energy Auditor