Automated Dust Collection for Woodworking Shop

February 6, 2018
Tech Tuesday

In my time performing technical support at Functional Devices, Inc., several customers have requested assistance selecting RIB® products that would enable them to automate the dust collection system in their woodworking shop. In each scenario, they were looking for a way to have their dust collector turn on if any of their electric saws, sanders or drills were being used. With a few current sensors and a dry contact relay, this can be achieved with little effort.

The dust collection system only needs to be running when one of the other pieces of equipment are, and those pieces of equipment will draw current while they are running. That means each saw, sander or drill will need a current sensor monitoring its Hot feed. Whenever current flows in any of those lines, the respective current sensor will close its output. Now that there is a trigger when a piece of woodworking equipment is being used, we need a way to turn on the dust collector with that trigger. That is where the dry contact relay comes into play.

The dry contact relay requires continuous power and a closure of its dry contact input for its normally open (N/O) relay contact to close. The N/O contact will be the “switch” to feed the dust collection system, and the dry contact input will be all the current sensor outputs wired in parallel. If any of the saws, sanders or drills being monitored start to draw current, the respective current sensor’s output will close. This will close the input of the dry contact relay, its N/O contact will close and the dust collection system will turn on.

Having the inputs to the dry contact relay wired in parallel allows for additional switches to be added. If there were a need, or desire, to have a station for hand sanding or working with hand tools, a manual toggle switch could be run to that location that would also be able to activate the dust collector.

If this is something you, or someone you know, has been wanting to do, now you know how. As always, our technical support team is here to assist in selecting the right product for your specific equipment and application. Give us a call, and we will be glad to help!


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About the Author

Henry Smith is a 34-year-old engineer at Functional Devices, Inc. He has a BSEET obtained from Purdue University in 2014 and a lifelong interest in electronics. As an engineer at Functional Devices, he gets to provide Technical Support to our customers, from distributors to specifying engineers and installers.

Henry enjoys providing tech support, as it allows our company to assist at every level of our product’s lifecycle and exposes us to interesting and unique applications. While not every technical question is unique, even answering a simple question or providing someone with the information in a timely manner can go a long way to helping him or her meet a deadline.